The Shely Pack Dancers presented a glittery, graceful holiday show in mid-December at Senior Coastsiders in Half Moon Bay. For the first time ever, the nationally renowned youth dance company also hosted a dance-along for members of the audience.
“We didn’t know if it was going to work,” said Leigh Ann Koelsch, a teacher and choreographer for Shely Pack Dancers, which is based on the Coastside. “I just didn’t know if people would be brave enough to actually dance. I didn’t know if we’d be standing out there by ourselves.”
The performance lineup featured a dazzling medley of studio dance styles including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, contemporary and a smattering of acrobatics. “Have I missed something?” said Shely Pack-Manning, director of Shely Pack Dancers and master of ceremonies for the event, after summing up the program.
Interspersed throughout the show were three dance-along numbers led by
Koelsch and a cohort of the Shely Pack Dancers petite team. The first interactive round featured chair dancing — picture people moving their upper body while sitting down — and a few ballet positions of the arms. When Koelsch gave the word, every pair
of arms in the room suddenly moved to first position.
“It’s like you’re hugging a tree,” said Koelsch.
For the second dance-along segment, members of the audience were invited to stand up. Koelsch taught a basic dance sequence composed of a side step and clap, a four-part arm move and a freestyle wiggle.
“There’s nothing like dancing to raise that Christmas spirit,” said Pack-Manning.
The event culminated in a third and final dance-along routine set to Michael Bublé’s rendition of “Winter Wonderland.”
“Do you feel brave enough to stand up and dance with us?” Koelsch asked the crowd.
“There’s no getting out of it,” she added, as members of the Shely Pack Dancers teen team coaxed spectators out of their chairs and accompanied them to the dance floor.
Standing in a large circle, audience members and company dancers joined hands.
“Let’s dance now with joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces,” said Pack-Manning.
This version corrects to show the program was presented on behalf of Senior Coastsiders.
April Seager is a staff writer covering events and endeavors in the Coastside community. She received a master of arts in German literature from Brigham Young University and completed graduate work in German studies at Washington University in St. Louis.
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