PUBLISHED: 6:36 PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2008
'Grumpcicle' to take the stage in March
For nearly 30 years the Grumpcicle has taken the stage in Juneau to pull some mean tricks on Santa Claus. He may have taken a break this holiday season, but he's looking at making an appearance in March, said Janice Holst, dance instructor and owner of Janice D. Holst School of Dance.

"This is the first time 'The Grumpcicle' won't be held at Christmas. It would have been the 29th year here and we did it for three years in New Jersey before coming to Juneau," Holst said.

With Holst's husband, Butch Holst, receiving medical care in Seattle through November, Janice Holst said time was running out to put together a show for Christmas.

To top things off, the VFW Hall she was using for classes since 1979 was sold, leaving her to look for a new venue to teach dances of all ages.

Making a return to Juneau in late November, Holst set up shop at the Elks Lodge in Downtown Juneau and held a dance class session of six weeks. But still, not enough time for "The Grumpcicle."

"I think the Grumpcicle left me a note in my peanut butter sandwich that said 'I'm too busy to bother you at Christmas but watch out at the end of March.' We're working very hard to put on a good show," Holst said.

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Dancers of all ages take part in the annual production of "The Grumpcicle" by Janice D. Holst School of Dance. After take a break this holiday season, the production is scheduled for late March.
"Every year is a new show. Every year is a new adventure with new kids and new stories. One year he took the colors out of toy machine. Other times we've ended up all around the world to find missing things. We start off wanting to do a really nice show, but Grumpcicle always messes it up."

Holst said that in creating an original story, she is constantly looking for new ideas and this year is no exception.

"It comes out of nowhere. We come up with so many goofy ideas, but then someone will say one thing and it all falls into place. It is difficult because you have to stylize and then get music and choreography and design costumes for a show in just a few weeks. It's all my own choreography," she said.

"I get the kids together, and I'll tell them what the idea is and they just have a good time with it. It's always fun. We have little kids and grownups."

She said that community members pitching in makes the show a fun event each year.

"It's a really fun family show with no bad words. There's always a moral to the story. It starts off that the Grumpcicle does mean things and by the end Santa Claus a lesson to teach him," Holst said.

"People are telling me that their kids who are 20 or 30 now are bringing their kids and that to them is Grumpcicle is as real as the Nutcracker. This is the only place on the planet to see Grumpcicle. I get letters from all over the world asking about it, and it's funny to hear that."

With "Grumpcicle" in the works for a late March show, Holst said she is happy to be back in Juneau teaching dance lessons. She said teaching children dance is more about steps and just as much about building character and self-confidence.

"The main thing is that no matter what their choice in life is going to be the fact that they came to dance classes and kept themselves strong and healthy is one thing.

"But they work hard and do something special and after they finish people clap. Some kids don't get a lot of attention for one reason or another, but this is a situation where they can feel good about what they do," Holst said.

"To me it's important that they learn to give back and make really nice friends. It's more than a fluffy little dance class because I care about them. And it's so much fun."