Pint-size Dancers to Bring Holiday Cheer: Dancin’ on the Door’s holiday performance this weekend

For some families, the holidays don’t start without dance, whether by watching or attending a performance of The Nutcracker or turning up the Tchaikovsky while decorating the house. Locally, there’s another option to feel festive through dance: Dancin’ on the Door’s annual holiday show. This year’s performance is set for Sunday, Dec. 9 at Prince of Peace Church in Sturgeon Bay.

The Egg Harbor school, which opened in 2014 under the direction of Andria Nikoupolis-Weliky, normally presents the holiday production Sara and the Toy Shoppe. This year, due to a lack of older dancers auditioning for two key roles, the show will focus primarily on the younger students, ages 3 to 10, and instead of the full production there will be excerpts from Sara and the Toy Shoppe woven into the show. Holiday spirit will come in the form of teddy bears, soldier dolls and ballerina dolls dancing in the styles of ballet and tap. Students from the Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol and Gibraltar school districts will be represented in the performance. In addition to the younger dancers, one of Nikoupolis-Weliky’s older dancers, Mari McMonigle, will perform a tap solo.

Last spring two of Dancin’ on the Door’s older dancers graduated from the program. One of those dancers is Makena Murre; she recently danced as the Rat Queen opposite Erik Johnson of the Milwaukee Ballet as the Nutcracker Prince in the Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization’s production of The Nutcracker. Nikoupolis-Weliky, who taught Murre since she was four, said of her former student, “I’m so impressed with her poise, and I’m glad that she’s continuing in her studies [at the Green Bay School of Dance].”

The other dancer who graduated last year is Julia Gomez. She is also continuing her dance studies while attending Columbia College Chicago.

Nikoupolis-Weliky has been a constant in the Door County dance scene, having taught in the county for the past 25 years. She taught for the YMCA before the Northern Door program center was built in Fish Creek. Classes were held at the Walkway Shops in Sister Bay, where CHOP Restaurant stands today. She started with 15 students and grew the program to 80 students. Now owning and running her own studio, Nikoupolis-Weliky continues to foster an enthusiasm for dance in kids throughout the county. She said of working with the students, “There’s so many parts about it that fill me with so much joy: seeing the joy in them and seeing their sense of pride in bringing it to the stage and seeing the confidence that dance brings.”

Dancin’ on the Door’s holiday show is Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 pm at Prince of Peace Church, 1756 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay. Tickets are $5 for ages 10 and older. Children younger than 10 are admitted for free. Tickets are available at the door.

In addition to this holiday performance, Dancin’ on the Door also holds an annual spring recital where the full student body — 40 students — performs. This year’s recital is May 19, 2 pm at Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek. For more information visit

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