In this episode of Ben's Holiday Workshop, Ben is living out his lifelong dream of being Santa Clause and bringing a meaningful gift for a local organization with some help from two people with "Santa-sized spirit" — tWitch and Allison. Most know tWitch from the Ellen Show and their performances on So You Think You Can Dance. While this duo is known for their winning dance moves, their most impressive talent is the way they connect with others from all walks (or dances) of life.
Ben, tWitch, and Allison set out to create an interactive, wooden, and magnetic ball maze for the Social Club in Laurel. This community-based outreach center hosts ability inclusive recreation and socialization. Though challenging, the reward is a way for children of all abilities to socialize and express themselves together.
While designing the paths for the maze, Allison and tWitch share how they got their start. Allison shared, "When I was 11 years old, I saw my sister performing and dancing, and I asked my mom to put me in Dance. The moment I stepped into a dance class, it just felt so good. I always said I wanted to help other kids find dance because it helped me."
The team waltzed their way through the Woodshop, and Ben laid the foundation for their maze using plywood and a mixture of cherry and maple for the frame. Using little to no hardware is the goal!
While Ben's objective in the Woodshop is to build a beautiful piece, his passion is to create meaningful relationships and learn more about his woodworking guests.
tWitch said, "I am originally from Alabama, and I moved to LA and started auditioning. Nothing worked. When I say I was struggling, I was struggling. It wasn't until I was in my first film, Hairspray."
As the conversation progressed, Allison shared how she was a single mom and an aspiring dancer before she met tWitch. It seemed impossible to chase after a career and take care of her first child, but with the help of her mother, she made it through.
"I was a single mom before I met tWitch. I questioned how I was going to go after my career and being the best mom that I could be without any help. All my family is in Utah, so I went to my mom, and I was like, how am I going to do this? My mom stepped up to the plate and said I'm going to go with you. Without my mom's help, I would have never been able to continue with my career."
Soon after, Allison got her first break when Kenny Ortega hired her to be in the High School Musical movie.
The team finishes their last stage of the project and goes freestyle with a table router to create the grooves for the magnets to move. The team discovers how woodworking and Dance aren't all that different during the process. It's very similar.
Allison said, "Dance is a lot like storytelling, and it's about connecting people. It's connected to memories as you dance at people's weddings, you dance at a party, you dance after you propose to someone."
tWitch joined in, "It's the universal language for me. You know, when I go overseas, we might not be speaking the same language. But if we can hear the same song, we will know what to do. Whether you can speak or not, there's still some dancing or some movement that can help you express the way that you feel."
Once the maze was complete, Adam Trest joined the team to transform the wooden surface into a woodland, folk piece of art.
At the end of the episode, the entire team gathers together at the Social Club for the Social Club's Christmas Party. Ben gets to live out his lifelong dream of being Santa Claus. While the episode shares a glimpse into the special moments, it is incredibly moving and emotional behind the camera. The pure magic of children of all abilities coming together turned out to be the best gift for the crew, Ben, Erin, tWitch, and Allison.
It was a joyful experience for the couples, and Allison shared, "There was a lot of special feelings in the air and such a great way to get in the holiday spirit. It's been really beautiful."
We're so grateful to have danced the day away with tWitch and Allison and to create an unforgettable experience with them. You can catch the new episode on HGTV or Discovery+ today! Be sure to stop by the Social Club and support its mission in Downtown Laurel.