I have done a few Nutcrackers. This year though, I've been otherwise occupied and had to drop my participation. Nutcracker season entails rehearsals beginning in September, not including the requisite ballet classes during the week. We dancers used to joke -- though it was no joke -- that we saw each other in rehearsals more than we did our husbands. Let's put it this way. Mine hated Nutcracker season.
Me, in Swan costume, for our studio photo 3 years ago
It was as close as I could get to the Snowflake costume!
Original Photo: Jun Yang Photography
Edited Photo: The Foolish Aesthete
But back to the magic of E.T. A. Hoffman and Tchaikovsky. One of my favorite scenes is the "Waltz of the Snowflakes". Tchaikovsky's tinkling celestas (I think), harps, triangles and angelic chorus simply transport Clara and the audience to a world of fairies and snow. For dancers, this is perhaps the most exhausting dance -- about eight minutes of fluttering runs and leaps. I find ballet jumps far more intense than aerobic class jumping!
An old Baryhshnikov version of "The Nutcracker" Snowflake scene, with Gelsey Kirkland as Clara
I used to attend class at Steps on Broadway in NYC. Baryshnikov, even in his 50s, would sometimes be in the same class (he was friends with the Russian ballet teacher). He would have us all enthralled, eyes wide with disbelief that we were dancing on the same floor as this Legend. I practically tripped over his ballet gear on the floor when he took the spot next to me at the barre! He he, Clutzy Ballerina here.
We are seeing another Holiday ballet show tomorrow. Not The Nutcracker, but one full of snowflakes and magic as well, put on by a friend and her ballet school. I'm sure I'll have more Nutcracker-related posts over the next few weeks. Some may include collaborative photography with another Blogger friend. Stay tuned, and really, enjoy the Magic of the Season!
What are your Christmas traditions?