Cangelosi Dance blending genres for the holidays

Merry dance mix

Mix a little classical ballet with hip hop. Now stir in some jazz and contemporary dance. Add a dash of joy and a pinch of celebration, and you have the Holiday Mix.

The Cangelosi Dance Project’s annual holiday production is set for two different programs on two different days this year. A performance featuring the company’s professional and pre-professional troupes is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a performance featuring the professional company and Cangelosi children’s troupes at 2 p.m. Saturday, both in the Manship Theatre.

“If you come to both performances, you’ll see two completely different shows,” says Kris Cangelosi, the dance company’s founder and artistic director. “And we have so many dance styles in these shows that it’s more like a variety show than a dance concert.”

The company also invited guest dancers from the Baton Rouge Visual and Performing Arts School to perform in the Saturday show. These dancers are directed by Leea Russell.

“I see this program growing even bigger next year,” Cangelosi says. “I’d like to add some musicians and actors to the program. I know some who are interested, so we will expand.”

Dancer Robyn Oguinye’s favorite dance is “Reflections.”

  • “It reminds of me of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s style of movement,” Oguinye says. The dance is performed to George Winston’s “Thanksgiving.”

“That’s the only song we bring back each year,” Cangelosi says. “It’s so beautiful.”

Meanwhile, dancer Marianne Wascom touts the dance, “Winter Song,” as her favorite. The dance is a classical ballet trio with the company’s lone male dancer, Aaron Ryan, at its center.

“I’m not even in that dance, and it’s my favorite,” Wascom says. “It’s another one that’s just so beautiful to watch.”

Ryan can’t help laughing He’s the only male dancer, which means he’s cast in almost every dance.

Cangelosi invited several choreographers to create new works for the annual concert, including LSU’s Director of Dance Sandra Parks, national choreographer and dancer Mina Estrada and local professional choreographers Kinsey Anderson, Leea Russell and Ashley McCullough.

The Friday night show will be Mark McCullough’s debut as a choreographer.

“I choreographed the tap piece,” she says. “There’s a lot of energy in tap, and it’s fun.”

McCullough teaches classes in contemporary dance for Cangelosi but has substituted for the tap instructor in the past.

“Had I known she had this strong talent for tap, I would have had her teaching tap classes all this time,” Cangelosi says.

  • CAST: Company III: Elle Ellwood, Lauren Flatau, Mary-Kate Frederick, Allyah Garza, Sydney Hertzog, Anne Malloy Kimble, Hannah Kimbrough, Carrington Lissard, Margaret Moe, Abigail Morales, Isabelle Richard, Londyn Theriot, and Vivian Toups; Company IV: Annabella Chenevert, Rebecca Bateman, Angelique Francois, Zahrah Adams, Juliana Smith, Ava Ventress, Jemma Wood, Vivian Dille, Rose Schwager, Lindyn Kim, Jaden Melilli, Judie Williams, Leslie Burk and Elizabeth Usher; CDP Student Company V: Claire Toups, Elise Marchand, Rayne Daniel, , Kheim Truong, Shelby Aydell, Lauren Reed, and Jane Avery Price; CDP Dance Company I and II: Courtney David, Hannah Willson, Ashley McCullough, Millenique Brown, Aaron Ryan, Shamira Cummings, Kinsey Anderson, Nicole Judson, Marianne Alford, Robyn Oguinye, Donalyn Norris, Jernal Gaston, and Sophie Davis. Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts Dance Troupe — fourth- and fifth-grade students: Larry Alexander, India Bennett, Grace Buras, Keenon Burks, Ethan Cheong, Samuel Ellis, Kendyl Gipson, Kyle Mitchell, Bailey McCurley, Nina Moore, Rui-James Pereria, Jade Perrin, Bryleigh Route, Taylor Thomas, Khiem Truong, Taylor White and Greer Young