Thursday, December 15, 2011


... while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
                                - from Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas"

I have never seen a sugar plum nor dreamt about them, but my encounters through poetry and literature tell me they are incredibly delightful and associated with Christmastime.  With all this Christmas imagery, I thought we could resume our Nutcracker journey and fly to the Land of Sweets: that confectionary dreamland ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The original 1892 libretto (by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in Russia) had Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel by dolphins (pulling their nutshell boat).  I think we can take an even bigger leap and have them pulled through the air by swans instead!

Photo collaboration with Jill Adams of Street Style London
En route to the Land of Sweets
Swan image: me again, studio photo by Jun Yang Photography
Photo Art: Jill Adams of Street Style Polka Dot

The second Act of the ballet is one of celebration within the Land of Sweets, where candy, chocolates and flowers honor Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.  Here, I'd wager the "Waltz of the Flowers" is one of the most recognizable pieces of music Tchaikovsky ever wrote.  Even non-ballet goers are familiar with it.  Moreover, this is the dream role for most young ballerinas for whom the Sugar Plum Fairy role is as elusive a fantasy as candy floss for breakfast.  Who wouldn't want to be waltzing with Dewdrop while swathed in frothy pink tulle?

"Waltz of the Flowers" in Balanchine's Nutcracker, New York City Ballet

The fast tempo of this version is characteristic of Balanchine, whose choreography tends towards fast footwork and near athleticism.  Technically impressive -- but not my favorite rendition.  However, I think they have the best Flower costume of all the productions!  The whirling layers of tulle look so much like flowers blooming!  And their Candy Land set is the stuff kids' dreams are made of.

Many thanks to blogger, Jill of Street Style London, and her brilliant idea of creating photo art out of my ballet images.  I feel this is a kind of Christmas present in itself!  She recently posted one of her photo montages of my swan image on her blog.  You can see it here.  This is one of the things I love about the blog world -- that people who have never met (yet) can form online friendships, akin to pen pals of old, and collaborate with each other artistically.

What are your favorite sweets?  I hope you get them this Christmas!


  1. Gosh, that set is gorgeous! I love it. As you said, the near-athleticism and footwork is indeed very impressive, but I feel it's a bit too much for the Waltz of the Flowers...too busy looking. However the soloists turns at 3:30 were stunning! Doing an attitude turn that many times in a row is really difficult! Thanks for sharing this video! :)

    I pulled out my pointe shoes from last season yesterday and did some warm-ups and danced a's been months since I last danced, and my calves are hating me today, haha. Ahhh, I miss ballet so much though.

    Maria Elyse
    First Impressions
    Flying Ships Vintage

  2. what a beautiful post! i so agree about blog is truly such a wonderful connection!

  3. The video was really cool. So glad that you shared it!
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  4. Oh J!!! I hadn't been online for a bit, and just, on whim, did a post with the same image! Great minds etc ; )

    Actuallly, the one I did isn't the blurry version, but now that I think of it, I should do that one, too. This is pretty wild: I can't get over the coincidence. Hope you're having fun! Much love, too. xxx

  5. Okay I'm back, and now - while my mom has the news on - I'm watching the video - I love this song/dance so much - and I can read your post properly. It's really uncanny: we haven't met, and I hadn't read what you wrote, but we're saying very similar things.

    re: sweets, I have no video to show of this, but one of the most VIVID recent memories I have, was a friend who took me to box seats of the Nutcracker, at I think the Royal Ballet, about 10 years ago, in London. The costumes that year were incredible. I don't know if you know a type of candy the British call 'licorice all sorts': they're assorted licorice (how do you spell that?) candies in very graphic colours: striped boxes, bright black, white, pink.. everyone knows them.. okay, here it is:

    and if you can imagine: the tutus were made to look EXACTLY like them. It was stunningly beautiful. Okay, everything is happening at once - news, phone ringing, I"m playing the ballet video.. gonna end this long post now ; ) x

  6. This is really gorgeous! Thank you for sharing, I enjoy so much watching their beautiful costumes


  7. I do agree with you about friendship in the bloggospher, great loving links and inspiration.

  8. Beautiful post!! I love the ballet, the photo is amazing!! x

  9. well she did a great job! I am very impressed!
    My fave sweet, dunno but i know for sure what i am craving for...a cheesecake. It's been 3 years since my last time in the states and I am really missing it a lot, including the cheesecake!

  10. The ballet dancers picture is great !!! Thats really creative and relaxing to look at ... about my fur vest is just because Im a tiny woman so everything seems to be longer but it was meant to end at the hips !!!

  11. LOVE THIS ;)

  12. Such wonderful ballet associations and what a beautiful setting this is. Around this time of the year there is only one favourite sweet for me: Christmas cookies! X

  13. The 1st photo is crazy.. love it


    Have a great weekend :)

  14. watching the youtube video i remember that there is a special price at the theatre of the city, for some ballets.. can't wait to go!!:) i'll see the sleeping beauty, i think!!^^

  15. You cannot go wrong with the nutcracker during the holiday seasons! I see it almost every christmas! Love the costumes, music, & dance!


  16. Jill has taken something already beautiful and given it another wonderful look. Lovely collaboration. It is also brilliant to be learning about ballet from you. Xxxx

  17. this is such a delight to watch...

  18. this is simply one of the most beautiful images this week, by a mile!


Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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