Pop music legend is on tour to promote her holiday album ‘Christmas’
ATASCADERO — The creative work relationship between the legendary Cher and local artistic director and choreographer Doriana Sanchez started back in 1987 when Cher saw Sanchez in the classic ’80s film “Dirty Dancing.” Cher asked for dance lessons for a music video, and the film’s choreographer, Kenny Ortega, sent Sanchez. In November, Sanchez headed out on the road as Cher’s artistic director to help promote her new holiday album “Christmas,” which dropped back in October.
“We are on a promo tour for her new album, which is so fabulous,” Sanchez said. “It is the new soundtrack of the holiday season, for sure. There is something for everyone on there.”
The album, simply titled “Christmas,” features collaborations between Cher and Stevie Wonder, Darlene Love, Michael Buble, Tyga, and Cyndi Lauper. Not only does it have brand new original holiday tracks, but it also has covers of some of your holiday favorites, and it’s one of the best holiday albums I’ve heard in a very long time.
The promotional tour for the album started with a performance at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting that later premiered on TV on Wednesday, Nov. 29, and a spellbinding performance of Cher’s single “DJ Play a Christmas Song” at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Both performances had Sanchez at the helm as artistic director.
“There are so many parts to this machine and this promo tour. For Macy’s, there was the Macy’s team, NBC, and Warner Brothers records,” Sanchez said of getting ready for the performance. “I worked on the creative concept with Macy’s, then her [Cher’s] manager, and I pitched it to her [Cher]. Once we had her approval, it was like being shot out of a cannon. I did my pre-production from here at Class Act Dance in Paso, with Oscar Gutierrez, Jonathan Ritter, and Jenevieve Crossett as original choreography assistants.
“At that same time, I was going in and out of Atascadero to Cher’s house in LA to finalize the performance details with her and do some rehearsals. We brought in the St. Johns Dance team from NY, who were the world champion hip hop team, and also the beautiful Black Haus Creative team. So in all, with Cher’s four dancers, we had 60 people in the performance.”
This year, the parade was the highest-rated it’s ever been, with 28.5 million viewers tuning in to watch. And everyone got to see Sanchez’s choreography and Cher’s much-loved vocals.
“The most fun and something I will never forget is our big blocking day [for Macy’s]. Our only blocking day,” Sanchez said. “It happened in the nighttime, and they only closed the street for a few hours. We only had like 45 minutes to block the entire performance. That is with all 12 cameras, lighting, set pieces, etc. There was a huge downpour, and it rained freezing cold rain the whole entire time. All 60 of us were soaking wet and freezing, but we were dancing in the rain and having the best time.
“This whole experience has been a huge blessing to everyone involved. Our only mission for this performance was to spread love, light, and joy. The world needs music, art, and dance now more than ever to help lift people’s hearts, so I feel we used our art for good. The best part is that Cher is happy, and that makes me happy.”
Right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the whole company, including Cher and Sanchez, headed to Germany, where Cher performed on “Wetten, dass.. ?” After that, they headed to London, England, where they will be through early December. There, Cher will perform at “The Graham Norton Show,” “The Royal Variety Show” for the Royal Family, and “Strictly Come Dancing,” which is the original version of “Dancing with the Stars.”
“We have had so much fun on this [promo tour],” Sanchez said. “Super hard work because the traveling is crazy. Lots of rehearsals in different countries and time zones, but all of it is a true blessing, and she [Cher] is one of the closest people to me in life. I love her and am very grateful to her for all of our years of creating together.”
You can watch Cher’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance at youtube.com/watch?v=pzJltQjuibA.
Feature Image: Artistic Director Doriana Sanchez (middle) is shown with Cher’s dancers at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo provided by Doriana Sanchez.