Dance department presents 'Tis the Season photo: Dance students will be performing 'Tis The Season with Santa's Toy Shop on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts photo: Dance students will be performing 'Tis The Season with Santa's Toy Shop on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center.

It’s that time of year again. While everyone is hanging up lights and wrapping gifts, make time to see the Mercyhurst Dance Department’s annual production, of “Tis the Season!”

“Tis the Season” is a dance performance that first showcased in December of 2011. It is on its way to becoming an annual tradition for all of Erie to enjoy. It is a narrated performance that puts special emphasis on Mercyhurst’s theme for this year, Happiness.

“Tis the Season” is brought to by producer and artistic director C. Noelle Partusch and choreographers Melissa Bobick, Noelle Partusch and Mark Santillano.

There is a show preview on Friday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. that offers balcony seating only. The full show premiers on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m. and the last show is Saturday at 2 p.m.

To truly capture the magical atmosphere of the season, there will be music groups performing in the lobby for a full half-hour prior to each performance and the dancers will greet the audience in the lobby following the performances.

Tauna Hunter, Dance Department Chairperson, says, “We’re excited to offer dance especially for children and their families that will highlight all the delights of the holiday season.”

Dance students are cast in the show. Those students enrolled in Company Ensemble audition at the beginning of the year and are then placed where they are most suitable.

In preparation for the show, the dancers spend multiple hours every day rehearsing for not only this show, but also for all of the shows they put on. “Tis the Season” takes approximately a month and a half to prepare for. During the week of the show, they spend roughly eight to nine hours rehearsing. The technical crew spends multiple hours preparing as well.

The show consists of three pieces. “Babes in Toyland,” “Passion Sculpture” and “Santa’s Toy Shop” each tell a different Christmas story. All pieces are appropriate for the whole family and will “appeal to the very young and the young at heart,” says Partusch. “Each piece celebrates a different aspect of the Christmas season.”

“Babes in Toyland” was created and choreographed by Melissa Bobick. It tells the story of two children on Christmas Eve who are drawn into Toyland. While in Toyland they dance with toys but in the end, the journey taught them to appreciate time with your family.

“Passion Sculpture” is a liturgical piece created and choreographed by Noelle Partusch. The music includes excerpts from Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion.” This piece connects students to the holiness and spirituality of the Advent and Christmas season.

“Santa’s Toy Shop” was choreographed by Mark Santillano. This piece includes a magical Christmas experience full of dancing elves, flying reindeer, soldiers that tap dance, dancing dolls and a special appearance from the big jolly guy.

“The dancers and choreographers are eager to transport you away from your hustle and bustle into some magical places where hope, laughter and prayer combine. On behalf of the cast, crew, and staff of “’Tis the Season” and the entire dance department, I wish you all the most blessed and joyful of holidays,” Partusch said.

Ticket prices vary. The preview performance on Friday, and family discount performance on Saturday, is $5.00. Admission for the other shows is $15.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and students, $7.50 for PC, $5.00 for youth and $3.50 for Mercyhurst students with ID.