The annual RISE Vineyard Performing Arts holiday dance extravaganza will take a new digital form this year, in a holiday-themed dance film set to air this weekend at the Vineyard Drive-in.

Organized by RISE director Jil Matrisciano, the film, called Holiday Highlights and Wishes from RISE is a Christmas special centered around the Island dance program and guided by a Santa Claus figure speaking to the audience from the North Pole.

“We had to close in March, we were unable to have our company showcase, we were unable to have our recital and now we’re unable to do a live holiday show,” Ms. Matrisciano said. “I felt like I couldn’t go another show season without producing something, both for the kids and the community.”

Show will be a film with footage of last year's holiday performance. — Heidi Wild Photography

The film will focus on footage from the RISE 2019 holiday recital, featuring a montage of dance performances from the prior year’s show, Ms. Matrisciano said. The piece will also feature interviews with current RISE dancers and video messages from RISE instructors new and old, who will send holiday wishes to the program’s cohort of dancers.

The film will screen on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 4:30 p.m. at the Vineyard drive-in, located in the parking lot at the ice arena.

Keeping true to tradition, the screening will also feature a small live dance performance, Ms. Matrisciano said, noting plans for a masked and socially distanced rendition of the Jingle Bell Rock dance the studio normally performs in the Edgartown holiday parade.

“The dance kind of gets passed down from the older dancers to the youngest dancers every year,” said Ms. Matrisciano. “This year we plan on getting out of the cars, spreading way out and maybe opening the show with it.”

Event will be an opportunity to honor last year's seniors. — Heidi Wild Photography

Tickets for the event will be sold at four different price points, from pay-what-you-can tickets available to all, to a ticket offering front row parking and VIP tickets to the studio’s June recital for those who contribute $1,000 or more. Proceeds will be put towards the RISE Above Access Program, the nonprofit branch of the organization dedicated to providing dance scholarships to Island families in need.

Since the pandemic began, RISE has offered remote and outdoor classes, and more recently, re-opened its doors for more traditional classes.

Ms. Matrisciano said she is looking forward to using the upcoming show as an opportunity to honor last year’s graduating seniors, who didn’t have the chance to perform in their end-of-year recital. She hopes the show will also remind Islanders of the vibrancy of the Vineyard arts community, even in the darker months of the pandemic.

“Everyone is focusing and scrambling on just how to function in the day-to-day, but the things that really inspire us and move us from our hearts and make us better people are the arts and those are the things that are kind of getting pushed by the wayside,” said Ms. Matrisciano. “Science will be the thing that ends the pandemic but the arts will be the thing that gets us through.”

To purchase tickets, email RISE at with the day, time, number of people in your car and ticket type you will be purchasing. Payments and donations can be made through Venmo.