’Tis the season for holiday spirit


Mark Santillano photo

Elizabeth Hite, senior Dance major, rehearses as the Arabian soloist with others for “’Tis the Season: Featuring the Nutcracker Act II.”

Megan Lay, Contributing writer

Next up in Mercyhurst Dance Department’s busy performance schedule is “‘Tis the Season: Featuring the Nutcracker Act II.”
This is a one-of-a-kind treat for the whole family as well as for the Erie community.
The hourlong performance will open with seasonal sacred dance.
“The Nutcracker: Act II” will conclude the evening, a classic favorite for any ballet or Christmas fan.
Mercyhurst will be teaming up with LECOM and LifeWorks Erie to produce the family favorite this season.
LECOM/LifeWorks Erie is a local organization that provides the elderly of Erie with opportunities for successful aging.
This community partnership also provides the Mercyhurst Dance department with several outreach performance opportunities throughout the year.
Lacey Gigliotti, a senior BFA Dance Major, has the unique opportunity of both dancing and choreographing in “’Tis the Season.”
Last year, Gigliotti was featured in the production as the Dew Drop Fairy, and this year she will be featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Gigliotti said, “My role this year is bigger than anything I’ve danced in the past three years at Mercyhurst. I have a greater responsibility to the cast, my partner and myself to lead with a positive attitude and perform to the best of my abilities.”
In addition to an intensive rehearsal schedule for her featured role, Gigliotti has also been tackling the responsibility of choreographing for the first half of the performance.
On what inspired her work she said, “The inspiration behind ‘Amazing Grace’ is really just hope. Hope for a better world and for peace. Hope for strength of spirit and for compassion. Hope for Light to be restored.”
This is a truly important and uplifting message during this time in our world, further demonstrating the ability of the Mercyhurst dancers to not only entertain, but also to inspire.
This is yet another demonstration of how dedicated and multi-talented the dancers of Mercyhurst University can be.
Still balancing a full class schedule and planning for auditions in the spring Gigliotti said, “The most difficult part about choreographing and performing at the same time is finding a good balance of time and energy.
“It can be hard to switch gears from dancer to instructor in such a short amount of time, but the entire experience has been incredibly rewarding,” she said.
When asked her favorite part of dancing the “Grand Pas de Deux,” Gigliotti said that overall, “The music and choreography are everything you could hope for in a fairy tale romance.
More specifically, however, she said her favorite moment is toward the end of the dance, when the Cavalier extends his hand to the Sugar Plum Fairy, and she takes his hand.
“It’s a simple and elegant moment, but I feel such a strong sense of connection and commitment to my partner,” said Gigliotti. “The tiny details like that throughout the entire pas are where my partner and I are able to really buy into the characters we are portraying and give the audience something magical to watch.”
There are four chances to see all of the hard work and dedication the dancers have put into this performance: Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. All tickets are $5.