Harness Holiday Spirit by Tripping the Light Fantastic

If you are having trouble mustering up your usual Christmas spirit, consider adding dance to your holiday to-do list to bolster your mood and spark joy during this difficult year.

Fred Astaire Dance Studios believes holidays are better when revelers dance. Tripping the light fantastic has been a holiday tradition since the early days of human history and is a central component of many holiday celebrations throughout the world. Dancing offers an entertaining method for self expression and a welcome stress release. It also brightens moods and entertains viewers. As you tackle the hustle and bustle that accompanies the December holiday season, take a break from online shopping or putting up Christmas lights to check out some famous holidays celebrated around the world where dancing plays a prominent role.


Christmas provides many opportunities to catch dance performances that evoke the holiday spirit. “The Nutcracker,” a ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, is a holiday tradition for many Americans. The ballet is based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman where a young girl befriends a nutcracker who comes to life on Christmas Eve, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Many ballet companies are streaming the performance during this unique holiday season to enable people to safely take part in this holiday tradition, Playbill reported. In this clip from the New York City Ballet, ballerinas dance to the “Waltz of the Flowers.”

If you need a high-energy option, the Radio City Rockettes offer a spirited, high-kicking holiday performance. They have performed Christmas Spectacular shows at Radio City Music Hall for nearly a century.


Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrated the week after Christmas. It features lively celebrations, elaborate dances and important lessons that culminate in a feast, according to History.com, an online resource. Check out this Kwanzaa performance by Afro-One Dance company in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.


In the Bahamas and other Carribean countries, people dress in costumes and hit the streets to celebrate on Boxing Day with Junkanoo dances. The celebration started with African slaves who danced to celebrate Christmas and rebel against their oppressors.

December is not the only time of year when people around the world host holiday celebrations that involve dancing. Here are a couple of other well-known celebrations where dancing plays a major role.

Día de Los Muertos

Family and friends gather on The Day of the Dead to remember loved ones who died. Many people wear skeleton costumes and participate in dances and parades. In this clip, dancers from the Dance Elite All Stars perform in California showcasing Día de Los Muertos.


Carnival is celebrated prior to the beginning of Lent and is characterized by lively parties, parades, intricate costumes and dances. It’s typically celebrated throughout the Carribean and in South America. Check out this celebration in Brazil.

If watching how dancing enriches holiday celebrations around the globe makes you want to hit the dance floor, consider putting a dance lesson on your holiday to-do list. Contact your local Fred Astaire Dance Studios to schedule a lesson, or visit www.fredastaire.com to learn about its Online Lesson Platform.