Sixth hip-hop ‘What the Dickens!’ dances through four shows in coming weekend

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The Cambridge Youth Dance Program’s original production of “What the Dickens!” will be performed Friday through Sunday in Boston. (Photo: Deborah Mason School of Dance)
The Cambridge Youth Dance Program’s original production of “What the Dickens!” will be performed Friday through Sunday in Boston. (Photo: Deborah Mason School of Dance)

The sixth annual “What the Dickens!” arrives Friday, Saturday and Sunday – an all-ages, untraditional “A Christmas Carol” that is old and successful enough to have traditions of its own.

The Cambridge Youth Dance Program original production recasts Dickens’ 1843 novella with a female, briefcase-carrying “Ebeneeza Scrooge,” and puts the tale in a modern, urban musical dance context that includes ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip-hop. Jayme Latorella debuts as Ebeneeza; adding even more energy to the show are guest turns by the gymnasts of Sheila Rosanio’s School of Dance and Gymnastics in Revere and an independent dance star or two (or four), starting with Sean Bjerke of The Beantown Lockers.

“Cratchett” will be performed by Ricardo Foster, returning for the third year along with Boston legends The Wondertwins, Billy and Bobby McClain, whose unique style of dance combines hip-hop, popping and mime.

“Each year, our production continues to evolve. With the recent move in to our new modern studio facility, we’ve had the opportunity to develop an even more exciting show full of dance, acrobatics and surprises,” said Deborah Mason, the program’s artistic director and founder. “We are excited to bring to audiences what has become a holiday favorite.”

The foundation of the classic holiday story – the money-obsessed Scrooge finding the meaning of the holiday through ghostly visits – remains, of course. “The story will still feel comfortingly familiar to fans of this classic holiday tale,” Mason said.

“What the Dickens!” is a collaboration between Mason, founder of the Deborah Mason School of Dance; David Drummond, an internationally acclaimed ballet principal, master teacher and choreographer; and Khalid Hill, tap choreographer.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the 223-seat Boston University Dance Theater, 915 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. Tickets are $25.

This post was written from a press release.

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