Celebrity dancers swing into Ridgefield

Dancing with the Stars mirrorball champions Tony Dovolani, a Fairfield County resident, and Karina Smirnoff, along with a host of other professional dancers and celebrity pros, will perform at Dance to the Holidays on Dec. 8, 2019. The show was rescheduled from the original Nov. 18 date. 

Now in its third year, the show is traveling around the country and comes to the Ridgefield Playhouse in the show’s only East Coast appearance. Jaymz Tuaileva from Dancing with the Stars, Donny and Marie’s Las Vegas Christmas Show and So You Think You Can Dance will direct and choreograph the show.

The lineup of performers includes American Idol’s Rayvon Owen and Vonzell Solomon; Randi Strong, Jonathan Platero and Kiki Nyemchek from So You Think You Can Dance; Dancing with the Stars’ Anya Fuchs, Oksana Platero and Tony Pututau; Ballroom with a Twist’s Amy Bennett and Carl James Bair along with world champion dancer Yuliya Phillips.

Smirnoff is looking forward to the show. “It’s always an incredible experience to perform on stage with such an elite group. We have dancers from Dancing with the Stars and from So You Think You Can Dance, as well as amazing singers from American Idol. It’s a close family and we just love putting smiles on people’s faces,” she said. “Not to mention, Tony and I have been friends for over 20 years. And to perform together is always something we both are looking forward to, especially when it’s in his home state of Connecticut.”

Audiences can expect to see a bit of holiday magic on stage from elaborately choreographed dance numbers to sparkly costumes and over-the-top stage sets and decorations.

“There is just something magical about this time of the year. Maybe it’s the kid in me but once

Halloween is done and I start hearing holiday songs on the radio and feel the spirit of the time,

I just get happy,” she said. “And the show has this special energy. The audience will leave inspired, happy and excited for the holidays. We will dance to some of the most iconic and favorite holidays songs ever, bringing the energy and the spirit of Christmas to our audience.”

Talking about some of the new additions to this year’s show, Smirnoff said the show is updated annually with new dances, songs, costumes and staging.

“Since we have an amazing loyal and loving following we want to make sure that every time they spend time with us, they always leave with new and exciting memories,” she said, noting one of her favorite parts in the show is the audience participation segment where the dancers get to interact with the attendees and get them to try out a few dance moves.

Husband-and-wife dancers Jonathan and Oksana Platero, who met on the show, Ballroom with a Twist, are also performing in the show. “You get every single one of your favorite Christmas songs,” said Jonathan. “It’s exciting for us because we love the Christmas holiday and getting to dance to it is a lot more fun.” Oksana noted that the show features all the classic songs but with different beats and a Latin flavor from the jive and the cha-cha to the samba and a Lindy hop. “It still gives you the Latin-filled dancing but with a Christmas filter.”

Jonathan said the show is wide-ranging. “You have the ballroom, you have some hip-hop in there, some contemporary, you have a little bit of everything for everyone,” he said. Oksana interjected, “We even have dancing snowmen.”

Asked her favorite form of dance, Smirnoff said, “It’s a hard question as dancing is my life. I love to watch it, teach it, judge it, do it. I think a dancer usually feels more connected to the music he or she is dancing to. Her strength is Latin American dancing but, she said, she enjoys all styles. “I think a true dancer never stops learning.”

The Plateros will dance together in one number that is set as a winter’s night. “It’s a beautiful song and we get to do our specialty, which is acrobat kind of lifts,” Jonathan said, noting the show ranges from a slow tempo to a Lindy hop Jingle Bells, which is crazy fast and fun.” “And that one takes a lot of energy,” Oskana said.

For more information, visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Editor’s Note: The show date was rescheduled as the paper was going to print. The show was originally scheduled for Nov. 18, 2018. The rescheduled show date is for Dec. 8, 2019.