There are many traditional ways to enjoy the 2010 holiday season here in Washington, D.C. You could attend any of three versions of The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol. But if you are looking for something new to do with your family this holiday season, a trip to the historic John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to experience Cirque Dreams Holidaze, created and directed by Neil Goldberg, will be sure to dazzle and impress.
This winter themed holiday show features gingerbread men flipping through the air, toy soldiers skillfully juggling on thin wires, snowmen daringly balancing, cute penguins spinning, puppets joyously caroling some of your favorite Christmas tunes and reindeer soaring high above a sparkling holiday landscape.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze, (not to be confused with any Cirque du Soleil production) takes the audience on a breath taking holiday adventure where sparkly Christmas ornaments come to life and then perform jaw dropping feats like juggling, trick bike riding and tight rope walking all with the aim of celebrating the holiday season. Some favorite holiday songs such as “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” and “O Holy Night” will keep you happily humming, even when some of the show’s original music fails to impress. Most of the songs are well-sung by the show’s three talented narrators, Ice Queen (Denise Nicole Estrada), Angel (Julie Wacksman) and Dickens (Mathew Conte). Despite some of the original music’s short comings, the array of brightly colored, sparkly costumes that fill the stage will keep your eyes happily occupied.
The gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and a 30-foot tall towering toy soldier and lush green Christmas tree that fill the stage are also pretty amazing. But the true stars of the show are the approximately thirty performers that hail from seven countries including Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, China, Ethiopia, Brazil and the United States. They perform some of the most amazing, high energy tricks that I have ever seen! I had to cover my eyes on more than one occasion because I was sure that the tight rope walker would not be able to keep his unicycle from falling off the thin wire he was so precariously balanced on while juggling six shiny hats…but he did! The trick bike riding performed by a troupe of five vivacious girls from China was truly spectacular.
This whimsical show is also particularly enjoyable for children. I sat next to a three-year old who could not take his eyes off the stage for a moment! Tis the season to be razzled and dazzled and I highly recommend getting into the holiday spirit with the limited run of Cirque Dreams Holidaze!
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Presented by The Hippodrome Foundation
Created and Directed by Neil Goldberg
Music and Lyrics by Jill Winters and David Scott
Additional Music by Lance Conque and Tony Aliperti
Reviewed by Sabrina Daly