The Nutcracker 2018 second weekend.

Another Nutcracker season has come and gone.

The second week of shows wasn’t without it’s quirks, but the quirks are the things that make it more memorable.

Our second weekend is done with a live orchestra, causing some tempo changes and unexpected differences in tone. This year all the dancers as a whole seemed to be aware and really listening to the music rather than going with the motions their used to in the timing we have at the studio. I was pretty impressed.

Another one of the party parents was out this Sunday, so we had to pull one of the company girls to fill in at the literal last minute. I was glad when I saw who it was because I knew she could handle the sudden new thing being handed to her. She and I switched husbands so that she could have me to sort of watch for timing and stuff since the party parent that was gone was near the front. I actually messed up a few times, not knowing if I was in front or behind on things, but we got it figured out with minimal notice of imperfections.

The party girls were super fun, and we carried on the tradition of the year before of making up dances to do during the intro music. (I’m sure that music has a more technical term, but my brain is failing me at the moment.) they absolutely loved it, and honestly it helped me feel centered. I do well with specifics and tradition and consistency, so this made it feel like we were doing something good and productive while we waited instead of getting inside our own heads and getting anxious.

We had quite a few dancers that were new to our company this year, and having them was an absolute joy. They are all so very talented and kind and have fitted right in with the rest of the crowd. I was very glad to see such seemingly seamless transitions for them, and love getting to see them backstage and getting to watch them dance. Change is never easy, but I’m so happy to have them with us.

A couple of little moments I love and want to remember:

  • The way the dancers run off the stage, out of breath, just to gather themselves and go right back out the other wing
  • The little cherub skipping with her dad backstage after her part, saying how much fun she had.
  • Hearing the audience react to the scene you’re in
  • The little conversations that happen in the scene, whether it’s to inform them of a movement or change, or just saying things to stay in character.
  • The nutcracker hand off and how Drosselmeyer gives me a secret thumbs up after every time.
  • Seeing my students as cherubs and angels and taking pictures with them. (And the hugs they give me when they see me.)
  • Watching my friends side stage as they dance
  • Seeing the older dancers take the time to talk to the younger dancers, and seeing the younger dancers eyes light up with dreams of who they want to be.
  • Dressing room hilarity
  • Getting to hang out with my fellow party parents.

So many other things I’m sure, and I may update this list as I remember them. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this company. It’s something I never even dreamed would be possible when I set out on my first ballet classes. It was beyond anything I ever could even dream, and here I am living it. I’m under the tutelage of a legend who has absolutely incredible stories to tell, among some of the best people I know. I try not to take even a moment of this dream life for granted.

I saw one of my students from last year in target after the show. It made me happy. I just had to throw that out there.

My phone is still rather broken so I’m only able to take photos with the selfie camera, so i only really got selfies with my tiny babies and a few friends. (Which, ya know, not gonna post in such a public place.)

I’ll hopefully have all the recital dances choreographed over the break (while I’m dog sitting for a family that has far more open space than I do) and well start cracking down on it when we get back.

I have one private lesson student right now, and working with her is making me so excited to see the progress in these kids. I love seeing them excited about ballet and seeing their dedication and determination to better themselves in it. What a wonderful habit to have.

Nutcracker 2018 Week One.

We’re officially half way through Nutcracker and boy are there loads of memories that have already been made.

I’ve had to miss or be late to a good amount of the theater rehearsals since I still teach my classes, but it worked out since I was going to miss Sunday’s performance, the girl who I taught to do the “Nutcracker hand off” could practice it.

We had our two school shows on Friday, which are always among my favorite. They seem to come and go in a blink, but getting to go out and see the students, some of them kids that I teach, is my favorite thing. They also bring a certain liveliness to the show with their reactions and applause that is a magic all its own.

There was an accident with one of the costumes almost as soon as the last school show ended, resulting in the need for our dew drop costume to be cleaned before the next performance. My friend Emily and I offered to take charge and we washed the tutu in her bathtub and got it dried before the next night. It was oddly fun to do, although I don’t know that i would think that if there were more than one to do. Still, there’s something about having this legendary costume that has been worn by so many dancers in such a vulnerable state that felt historic. Maybe I’m just weird 🤷🏼‍♀️

During Saturday’s show, it seemed party scene had everything that could happen to happen. Okay, maybe not everything but a good deal of things. A few of the dancers broke down and were crying (though they pulled it together to dance like queens,) one of the party boys got caught up in the prop scarf and almost got choked center stage by a maid trying to take the prop off who couldn’t see him and his struggle, a part dad lost his bow tie which resulted in the best and most subtle retrieval I’ve ever taken part in (picking it up, handing it to my party husband as we danced, him sticking it in his pocket as he spun me, then letting the party dad know, hey, we have your tie, and getting it to him.) Drosselmeyer (I cant spell and am too tired to try so) almost backed into a party boy that was slightly off his mark for the nutcracker hand off and in pretty sure it looked like I pinched his butt when I was coyly handing him the nutcracker like “magic.” Then we didn’t have our goblets when we needed them at the end of the scene so we had to pretend we had them until a butler brought them, resulting in the two sides being off for that sequence.

BUT YA KNOW WHAT, we made it, dang it! The audience didn’t even realize half of this was happening, except maybe the choking kid, and even that we played off. It was entertaining to say the least.

One of my favorite parts is going backstage between Acts and seeing my students that are cherubs and angels. I take selfies with each of them and some of them give me the absolute biggest hugs. It makes my heart all sorts of soft and squishy. They’re the sweetest.

I was standing for too long and definitely over did it this weekend, and by the end of It I was laying on the ground backstage because my back was hurting too bad to even sit.

I’m not sure if this weekend will cause me to crash pretty in epic ways. I’m sure between that and this week I’m facing with back to back things and that’s with many compromises, I’ll feel some sort of repercussions from it all, but I’m doing my best to do my best to avoid as much of that as I can.

One of my sweet students moms found out about all my health stuff and offered to help me find herbs that can help me with everything. It takes time to really start feeling the effects, but I’d argue that I’m already seeing a difference, even if it’s slight. Maybe that’s because I have an excuse to drink tea all the time, which I absolutely love, who knows. Whatever it is, I’m not sad about it.

She also gifted me with private yoga sessions to see if we can get some strength back in my lower back to help my herniated disks not get even worse so quickly. I’m absolutely floored by her kindness and generosity to me, and hopeful that maybe I can get even the smallest bits of relief.

Life has been pretty intense. I’m exhausted and quite often fighting loads of discouragement, but I’m grateful for the beautiful gifts dance continues to give me.