Columbus Dance Theatre's non-traditional holiday tradition

If the story of a little girl who must sell matches in the streets to support her abusive father doesn't sound like your idea of a holiday tradition the whole family is sure to love, then you haven't been paying attention. For the 19th year, Columbus Dance Theatre will present “Matchgirl,” founding director Tim Veach's adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story of “The Little Match Girl.”

“It's a little dark, but so are all the Disney movies,” said new artistic director (and 11-year CDT dancer) Seth Wilson. “In the first act, we follow the story very closely, but in Act 2, the little girl reunites with her mother and sees a better place. It's lighthearted and uplifting.”

In his first season leading the company, Wilson said he had no plans to mess with success. “Matchgirl” will hew closely to past productions and feature Veach's choreography and storytelling.

“It's not like ‘The Nutcracker.' It's not really based on Christmas. I think those are some of the reasons why Tim wanted to do it in the first place,” Wilson said.

The classic ballet style mixed with more contemporary movement also helps set the production apart from other traditional holiday productions, while highlighting CDT's signature versatility, Wilson said.