Spotlight

Dancers share their Christmas traditions

Royal New Zealand Ballet's Katherine Minor. Photo by Ross Brown.
Royal New Zealand Ballet's Katherine Minor. Photo by Ross Brown.

‘Tis the season to reflect on the past year, spend time with family and loved ones, and create new memories. It’s also the time to recreate some of your favourite memories – traditions that carry over year to year and, over time, have become an integral part of the Christmas season. 

Here, Dance Informa reveals the Christmas traditions of several professional dance artists. 

Clare Morehen. Photo by David Kelly.

Clare Morehen. Photo by David Kelly.

Clare Morehen, principal artist, Queensland Ballet

“Christmas is my favourite time of year, and I think I get more excited about it now than when I was little! I start December by making my fiancé an advent calendar. He gets 24 little gifts to open, one for each day leading up to Christmas. (Spoilt, I know, but I love giving and wrapping!) On Christmas Day, we have breakfast, get dressed and open presents. The Christmas table always has a ‘theme’, and I am head decorator. I love choosing the colours and making it really special. We have a tradition called ‘Table Presents’, so just when you think it’s all over, there is another gift on your place setting at the table. We also have mini homemade sausage rolls and mince pies, half-cooked and kept in the fringe for use throughout the season when no one is too hungry or bothered to cook. My late grandmother began this Christmas tradition, and although I’m a vegetarian, I will make this one exception to continue her legacy.”

Chunky Move's Tara Jade Samaya (right). Photo by Pippa Samaya.

Chunky Move’s Tara Jade Samaya (right). Photo by Pippa Samaya.

Tara Jade Samaya, dancer and artistic associate, Chunky Move

“In the family and the household that I was brought up in, Christmas was about indulgences – gifting presents, a generous brunch, pool games, leftovers for dinner and toasting to the memory of my dear grandmother, who was born on Christmas Day. As I’ve gotten older, my ‘family’ has extended beyond relatives and bloodlines through marriage and many close friends. As a result, my traditions and values have shifted significantly. What I now enjoy more than ever is that the festive season is about sharing time, laughter and experiences regardless of any religious beliefs or traditions. And I feel really happy knowing that so many other humans are gathering all over the planet at the same time!”

Teri Crilly. Photo by David Kelly.

Teri Crilly. Photo by David Kelly.

Teri Crilly, demi-soloist, Queensland Ballet

 “Every Christmas, my mother makes a plum pudding from scratch. Since there was always such a fight over how much each family member gets, she now makes two! My extremely crafty mum also makes her own homemade Christmas bon-bons with little treats inside for the family! One of my most favourite Christmas traditions would have to be on Christmas Eve when Dad takes us all Christmas light looking around our local suburbs. We then head over to one of our family friends’ farms for Christmas Eve drinks and celebrations. Would you believe our friends even dress their deer up as reindeer, complete with antlers!”

Kelsey Stokes, corps de ballet, The Australian Ballet

Kelsey Stokes of The Australian Ballet. Photo by James Braund.

Kelsey Stokes of The Australian Ballet. Photo by James Braund.

“Christmas is usually very relaxed for me, but we do have a few little traditions in our family. On Christmas Eve, we always go for a drive or walk to look at houses decorated with Christmas lights. When I was younger, we would also spend time looking at the sky to try and spot the lights on Santa’s sleigh. Having grown up in a beachside town, the best part of the day was always spent at the beach, and we fit a big lunch or dinner around this. Every year, my ‘Aunty’ makes us personalised Christmas crackers, which is always lots of fun and and a bit of a laugh at the dinner table.”

Katherine Minor, dancer with The Royal New Zealand Ballet

“I have a fairly small family, so I’ve always associated Christmas with being a peaceful and quiet time. For most of the day, we will gravitate toward the fire burning in the living room and the Christmas tree. Every Christmas morning, I look forward to a huge brunch, and after that the presents are revealed!”

Matte Roffe, dancer with Australian Dance Theatre

Australian Dance Theatre's Matte Roffe. Photo by Chris Herzfeld Camlight Productions.

Australian Dance Theatre’s Matte Roffe. Photo by Chris Herzfeld Camlight Productions.

“My Christmas traditions are usually alternated between my parents house in Cowra, NSW, and at my husband’s house in Tauranga, New Zealand. We both come from big families, and the days are always spent surrounded by an abundance of delicious food, relatives/loved ones and lots of laughter. Something we do ever year is a massive games night at the end of Christmas dinner. This is always a highlight for me, as it is something we have done since I was a child, and it gets funny every year, especially with a few classes of champagne.”

Sophie Rose Zoricic, company artist, Queensland Ballet

“I guess our family tradition would just be to wake up all together on Christmas Day. My sister and I stay the night at our parents on Christmas Eve and hang our stockings up at the end of our bed! On Christmas morning, we open our presents and have a breakfast feast, usually ham, poached eggs and croissants. Then we lay by the pool, have a beautiful Christmas seafood spread and enjoy some sunset drinks. We have a small family, but the most important thing is to be together!”

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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