Dec. 25 is an important day for dancer Christine Garvin — and it’s not just due to Christmas cheer.
“I’m a Christmas baby,” says Garvin, who was born on the big gift-giving day. And while it might be easy to say, “Bah, humbug!” to sharing a birthday with Christmas, Garvin, owner of Asheville-based Christine Garvin Dance + Transform, does the opposite — she celebrates her entire birth month in seasonal style.
As part of the festivities, Garvin, her dance students and her professional dance troupe, Liquid Sirens, will bring back a much-loved seasonal tradition: Ho-Ho-Holiday Rewind, a variety show, takes the stage at Isis Music Hall on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The skits and performances this year — there are 14 of them, with 22 performers — are “almost all [popular] things we’re bringing back from previous years,” made fresh with new twists, Garvin explains. Some of them are serious dance showcases, some are “Saturday Night Live”-style comedy skits, and others are combinations of the two.
There are a couple of skits on the roster that will be coming back for the fifth time. Here’s a hint: “Have you ever seen the SNL skit — we’ll call it ‘D in a B’ for short — with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg?” Garvin asks. “Two of the ladies who dance with me dress up as Justin and Andy, and they do an amazing job. … People die laughing at that, and, well, we’ve got to give the people what they want.”
Garvin put on her first show — originally a way to show off her dance students’ progress — in 2012 at the Lexington Avenue Brewery. “That first year, it wasn’t even really meant to be a holiday show,” she says. “But it ended up being magical. We just realized what a supportive community there is in Asheville for this kind of stuff — and, since then, we’ve added even more guest acts.”
The event has been performed in subsequent years at the LAB and The Grey Eagle and, in 2015, the group performed a blowout extravaganza on The Orange Peel’s stage. But, in 2016, Ho-Ho-Holiday was missing from Asheville’s festive calendar.
“Honestly, the show that we did the year before at The Orange Peel was so big, and we just put so much time into it, and the dance school was really starting to grow,” Garvin explains. “So, my focus was more on the classes and workshops.”
This year’s comeback, on Isis Music Hall’s main stage, has Garvin feeling much less stressed than in years before.
“That break gave me a little bit of breathing room, but it’s definitely been fun to get back into it,” she says. “As we move forward, in the future, I’d really like to focus on the holiday show being our big show each year.”
While this year’s event focuses on “rewinding” the tape to previous years’ routines, repeat patrons can look forward to new and exciting, never-before-seen additions to older programming.
“We’ve definitely sort of upped the game of the ones that we have used before,” Garvin says.
Along with the infamous SNL skit, Ho-Ho-Holiday Rewind will feature a modern dance routine to tug on audiences’ heartstrings, a 1960s go-go Christmas routine, cabaret-style dance, a colorful interpretation of Indian bhangra dance and more — including light-up underpants and a singalong with ’80s and ’90s cover band yourmomsmixtape.
“We’re going to have one piece with dancing [set to] two live singers,” Garvin continues. “It’s two versions of ‘Santa Baby,’ with the more traditional one being sung by local voice-over and improv artist Sharon Feingold and a faster version by Michelle Grasty-Colont.”
Local poet Barbie Angell will emcee the event. And in between bouts of laughing and rounds of applause, audience members can bid on a number of locally made gifts and activity vouchers at the event’s silent auction, which features a number of products made by the show’s artsy performers, along with items from sponsors such as the Conundrum Breakout Room and Jewels That Dance.
A portion of ticket sales and a portion of silent auction proceeds will be given to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
“Everybody involved just has the goal of having a good time,” Garvin says, a sentiment that’s reflected onstage. “That’s why we keep doing it.”
WHAT: Ho-Ho-Holiday dance and comedy variety show
WHERE: Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road, isisasheville.com
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8:30 p.m. $18 advance/$22 at the door