A Spiritual Epiphany

Rachel Coad, Melissa DeGroat, Nicole Womack of Epiphany DanceArts. Photo Dennis Pikus.

Epiphany DanceArts shows the true meaning of Christmas in its winter production in Garland.

Having seen multiple variations of The Nutcracker this season, I was eager for a change of pace with the Epiphany DanceArts winter production Shimmers in the Snow Friday night at the Plaza Theatre in Garland.

Founded in 2010 by Melissa DeGroat, Epiphany DanceArts prides itself on being versatile, family-friendly and spiritually motivated. Friday night’s show highlighted all these traits.

The first act was thoughtfully put together with each dance leading into the next. Even the costumes helped tie the program together, as simple white dresses were paired with different overlays from piece to piece. While the movement was not necessarily challenging, the dancers’ musicality and arm gestures were divine. They understand what it means to be still and yet exude energy.

In Breath of Heaven there was a mesmerizing moment when DeGroat stood downstage and inhaled and exhaled deeply as she slowly reached her arms out to the audience and then above her head.

Melissa DeGroat, Artistic Director of Epiphany DanceArts. Photo Dennis Pikus.

In contrast to the continuity of the first act, the second act bounced through various moods and styles. It opened with a hauntingly beautiful dance to Ave Maria and was soon followed by a contemporary piece about a prisoner learning to trust for the first time entitled Cold Water. That was followed by a couple of silly, musical theater pieces.

The light-hearted take on a piece from The Nutcracker and the pajama dance where the dancers were dressed in long johns and fuzzy slippers were entertaining, but it was such a big change from the first act that it was easy to get a little lost. However, the company brought the performance full circle with a final touching spiritual piece set to O Holy Night.

Shimmers in the Snow reminds us that the holidays are deeper than Santa and his reindeer, and manages to convey a spiritual message. Yet, the tone of the performance makes clear that we can enjoy Frosty the Snowman as well.

This review was first posted on TheaterJones.com.

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