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Beautiful Ballet and Tap-Dancing Reindeer

Beautiful Ballet and Tap-Dancing Reindeer

Founded in 1997, the Evanston Dance Ensemble’s mission is to deepen the exposure to and appreciation of dance for highly talented and committed young performers and diverse audiences in the greater Chicago area. We’re excited to have them back to celebrate the holidays with us. This year, you’ll enjoy new choreography from Bea Rashid and Christine Ernst during the Scene in the Pine Forest and Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky wrote the ballet in 1892. The original production was not a success, and it wasn’t until the piece was picked up as a Christmas tradition by numerous U.S. ballet companies in the 1960s that it became the phenomenon we know today. Many major ballet companies around the country generate around 40% of their operating budget from performances.

Back by popular demand are the tap-dancing reindeer for the swinging Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! In 1939, Robert L. May created Rudolph for Montgomery Ward’s holiday coloring book giveaway. May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, put the poem to music, and Gene Autry’s version of the song went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during Christmas 1949. In 1964, the song became a holiday television classic, thanks to Rankin/Bass Productions.

The third piece to feature the Evanston Dance Ensemble is Mozart’s Sleigh Ride (German Dance No 3, K 605). In 1787, Mozart was appointed Imperial Chamber Composer for Emperor Joseph II, and his main duty in that position was to write music for the court dances and balls. He produced 10 sets of dances, and this one was written with two others in 1791.

Also on the Holiday program are festive favorites like Anderson's Sleigh Ride and Wendel’s classical adaptations of The Little Bolero Boy and We Three Kings. The Evanston Children’s Choir will sing Ding Dong! Merrily on High, Carol to the King and during Waltz of the Snowflakes; and the North Shore Choral Society joins in performing Rutter’s What Sweeter Music and selections from Handel’s Messiah. Back again this year is the Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir, singing Quincy Jones's Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration and a new orchestral adaptation of The Temptations’ Silent Night.

Evanston Dance Ensemble


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Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Friday, at 1:30 pm

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Please RSVP to 847-562-5318.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.