Not a new story - it’s basically of a rite of passage for any ballet student, and a minor obsession for a ballet teacher.
For years, my family and friends have delighted with me in ushering in the magical holiday season with Nutcrackers near and far, new and old, scary and comical, plucky and professional. I like to think our plucky little production offers a little of each – new ideas, old traditions, fright, wonder and laughter.
After all, we are years away from the buttoned up professional productions I’m accustomed to …or so I thought.
For example, you really need a corps de ballet of professional dancers to hold together the pristine, icy madness, the synchronized athleticism, the breathtaking, crystalline land of snow. The timing for that crash, for heaven’s sake... And counting a 6/8... Not getting your branches stuck together… And making yourself not appear half as exhausted as you actually are as the sun rises and Clara makes her way through the melting snow… Definitely need professionals for that. Children couldn’t possibly be expected to do all of that …or so I thought.
And you most definitely need professional actors to properly portray the eccentric, endearing, even though a bit scary, Uncle Drosselmeyer. He, after all, has to be both sweet and scary. Both charming and totally out of his mind. Kids can’t do that. I mean they can try and it would be so cute. But they can’t really do that. Or so I thought.
And you absolutely need professional dancers to bring the heat for the hot chocolate, the richness for the coffee, the spritely spirit for the tea, the primness for the marzipan, and the zazzle for the candy cane, or so I thought.
Our students, cute as they may be… well, they’re only kids.
But after watching the last rehearsals this weekend, their drive, their willingness to throw themselves into their roles, their professionalism- helping each other with quick changes, preparing their props, packing their costumes... I realized I was totally wrong.
Dancers, you have worked your toesies off this season and I’m ecstatic to see you perform. You can already hang with the best of them and you still have so far to grow.
You guys are the zazzle to my Nutcracker.