By Harley Nefe
A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas has returned from Dec. 12 until Jan. 4 with a virtual rendition of one of the High Country’s newest holiday traditions.
Due to COVID-19, The Carolina Snowbelles’ home theater, The Appalachian Theatre, is closed. And back in the summer, The Carolina Snowbelles had to make a decision about what they were going to do for the holiday season because generally they would have had to go into rehearsals for an onstage performance toward the end of the summer to be ready for Christmas.
“We had to make a tough decision not knowing if theaters would even reopen to go ahead and do a filmed production this year,” said Cheryl Cutlip, Rockette alumna and Director of The Carolina Snowbelles. “Unfortunately for the theater, they’re still closed, but we were able to re-envision what we do on stage, which has been such a great learning experience.”
The Carolina Snowbelles are now presenting an online show partnering with film production producer Arthur Rasco of Journey Light Creative, LLC. They also had to bring in a composer to compose an original piece of music.
“We anticipated returning to our home at the beautifully restored Appalachian Theatre of the High Country with additional performances in 2020 after sold out performances last year. Instead, we’ve all learned a new skill; dancing on film,” Cutlip said.
The 1-hour production features a brand new digitally engineered routine inspired by the late Busby Berkeley titled Twilight.
To make this happen The Carolina Snowbelles had to purchase a green screen dance floor and recreated their entire dance studio into a film studio. For several weeks, they went in and social distantly filmed themselves.
The onstage performances are filmed from several different angles, so viewers can see all of the work the Snowbelles are doing up close.
Filmed with the green screen technology, the icicle wonderland video production is made possible by the heartfelt imagination of each dancing Snowbelle who transports viewers into a magical world, where ballerinas drop out of the cool snowy sky, and urban dancers multiply by the droves. Finally, the routine culminates into dancing kaleidoscopic snowflakes.
Viewers can enjoy Snowbelle favorites like Sing, Merry & Bright and Like This choreographed by Cheryl Cutlip while embracing the true meaning of Christmas with Silent Night choreographed by Bradley Parquette and Little Drummer Boy choreographed by Amanda Edge.
Another piece that is included in the production show is that the Snowbelles kicked their way through the streets and shared sights and sounds of the High Country, as they did interviews where they shared personal heartwarming stories.
For those who are interested in seeing A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas, tickets are on sale at thecarolinasnowbelles.com. All proceeds support The Carolina Snowbelles, a scholarship program of The Project Dance Foundation, a 501(C)3 arts and education organization.
“We really appreciate the support because as most artists are in the same boat that we are, we definitely need support during this time,” Cutlip said. “We’re not able to utilize the theaters and things like that. It will really help keep the Snowbelle program going if people are able to support the online show.”
Once a ticket is purchased, The Carolina Snowbelles are notified, and they return an email that will contain a link to the show. Viewers then are able to watch the performance over and over again as many times as they would like through Jan. 4.
“It definitely gets you into the Christmas spirit,” Cutlip said. “It’s a wonderful, family-fun produced show. You’re going to be able to not just learn about what the Snowbelles are all about, but you’ll see things like the Silent Night routine and Little Drummer Boy, which also just get you in the Christmas spirit.”
For a single viewer, a ticket costs $15. A family viewing of the show is $36. If someone wishes to host a watch party or would like to be a patron of the Snowbelles, for $72 they can invite friends to watch it with them.
“A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas is the newest holiday tradition here in the High Country of North Carolina, and The Carolina Snowbelles are so excited to continue our show with an online virtual holiday experience,” Cutlip said. “We invite everyone here in the High Country and beyond as anyone in the world can enjoy The Carolina Snowbelles now and what they bring to our community through the unique style of precision dance that was inspired by the Radio City Rockettes, so we’re very excited to be invited into your homes to enjoy a little entertainment.”
For a sneak peak of the show, individuals can enjoy this preview: Watch Trailer
Photos submitted by The Carolina Snowbelles:
Photos taken by Ken Ketchie from the Snowbelles’ performance at Saturday’s drive-thru Christmas parade: