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Dance Movies & Holidays Specials Are Leading the Way this Christmas

Kristyn Burtt


Photo credit: ABC/Richard Harbaugh

If the end of Season 29 of "Dancing with the Stars" has got you down, don't fret because the holidays are ushering a festive array of specials that will keep you moving through the next six weeks. There are certain traditions like "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" and "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" that viewers can count on — and yes, they will look a bit different with COVID-19 safety protocol. But there will also be new holiday offerings that may become yearly traditions moving forward.

We've gathered a collection of holiday movies, specials and variety shows that offer something for everyone. From the familiar faces in music, like Dolly Parton and Mariah Carey, to family fare in Netflix's new musical, "Jingle Jangle," this untraditional pandemic year is still delivering joyful surprises.

Mark your calendar so you don't miss wonderful ways to celebrate the holiday season.

Jingle Jangle


Photo credit: Netflix.

"Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey," starring Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Anika Noni Rose and Phylicia Rashad, focuses on a toymaker who finds a new purpose in life when his granddaughter enters his life. This is Netflix's first live-action film and the results are stunning. With colorful costumes, music, choreography and visual effects, this movie will easily become a holiday classic.

Watch the trailer.

Streaming now on Netflix.

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square


Photo credit: Netflix.

"Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square" is a Netflix original that not only stars Dolly Parton, but is directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen. With 14 new songs by the legendary Parton herself, this story of a woman, played by Christine Baranski reconnecting with her hometown's Christmas spirit should warm everyone's heart this season.

Watch the trailer.

Available on Netflix beginning Nov. 22.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


Photo credit: Ralph Bavaro/NBC.

The "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" is a time-honored tradition, but it's going to look a little different this year. The parade won't be marching through the streets of New York City this year, so families will need to be home watching from the safety of their homes.

The good news is that the incredible floats and memorable balloons will be seen in the Herald Square area of Manhattan near the Macy's flagship store. The Rockettes will be performing their signature kick line and Broadway shows, which have been dark since March due to the pandemic, will be back singing and dancing. Look for the casts of "Hamilton," "Mean Girls" and "Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations" on the broadcast.

The parade will air on Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on NBC in all time zones.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration


Photo credit: Disney/Richard Harbaugh.

ABC is still bringing that Disney magic this holiday season, kicking off with their fifth annual "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration." This year the special will be hosted by "Dancing with the Stars" judge Derek Hough and his sister, former "Dancing with the Stars" pro Julianne Hough. The duo is promising a spectacular opening number that was filmed throughout Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

"The opening number is so much fun," Derek says in a recent People interview. "We dance through different lands in the park — Frontierland, Galaxy's Edge and on Main Street — so we got to do cool transitions and switch costumes. It felt big, even though it was just Julianne and I dancing. We just love to entertain and bring joy."

Viewers will also see flashback performances by Kelly Clarkson, Jason Derulo, Pentatonix and Ciara. Younger Disney fans will enjoy Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel's 2017 duet of 'When We're Together' from "Olaf's Frozen Adventure."

"The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" airs Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker


Photo credit: Netflix.

If dance documentaries are more your style, then look no further than Netflix's "Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker." The film follows Debbie Allen and her talented students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy as they get ready for their annual production of the "Hot Chocolate Nutcracker." The show has been a holiday tradition in the Los Angeles area, but the documentary will now give viewers access to the grueling three-month rehearsals before the dancers hit the stage.

Watch the trailer.

Available on Netflix beginning Nov. 27.

Christmas Waltz


Photo credit: Hallmark.

Hallmark always does one dance movie for the holidays. This year's entry is "Christmas Waltz" starring Lacey Chabert, Will Kemp and JT Church. After a woman's Christmas wedding is canceled, a dance teacher changes her life by fulfilling her dreams of learning how to dance.

Watch the trailer.

"Christmas Waltz" premieres on Nov. 28 on the Hallmark Channel.

The Disney Holiday Singalong


Photo credit: ABC.

ABC is back with its third singalong this year — "The Disney Holiday Singalong"— after successfully putting together two remote specials earlier in the pandemic. Ryan Seacrest will host the one-hour event and Michael Bublé, Chloe x Halle, Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert, Julianne Hough, Adam Lambert, Leslie Odom Jr., Katy Perry and P!NK are just some of the performers who will delight audiences with Disney songs. The Broadway cast of "The Lion King," "Aladdin" and the North American touring companies of "Frozen" will make a triumphant return to New York City's New Amsterdam Theatre for its first performance since March.

Watch the trailer.

"The Disney Holiday Singalong" will air Monday, Nov. 30 from 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular


Photo credit: MSG Entertainment.

For dance fans who never had the opportunity to see the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" in person, NBC is giving viewers the best seat in the house with a one-hour look at the annual show. The Rockettes will perform some of their most famous numbers, including "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "New York at Christmas" and the "12 Days of Christmas."

Watch the trailer.

The "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" airs on Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special


Photo credit: Apple +

It's not Christmas unless Mariah Carey says so. The singer with the best-selling Christmas song of all time, "All I Want For Christmas Is You," heads to Apple TV+ with her variety special, "Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special." Besides incredible performers like Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, ballet enthusiasts will be excited to see American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland joining in on the fun.

Watch the trailer.

"Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special" will be available on Apple TV+ beginning Dec. 4.

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Kristyn Burtt is a commercial dance journalist, TV host and producer. She was the West Coast correspondent and host of "To the Pointe" on Dance Network for five years. Her coverage of "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing With the Stars" and "World of Dance" is popular with dance fans across the globe. Kristyn's love of dance began early in her life. She trained at the Boston Ballet School, danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in "The Nutcracker" and won a dance scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the American Dance Movement’s Marketing & PR Committee and is a member of the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA.

Los Angeles, CA

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