(me as an angel, my first role in The Nutcracker 14 years ago)
In honor of Friday’s opening night, I present to you, 10 truths that only those dancing in The Nutcracker can truly appreciate:
1.) By December 10th, hearing any segment of Tchaikovsky’s iconic score outside the ballet studio (i.e. tv commercials and shopping malls), will send you into immediate body convulsions and/or cause spontaneous choreography marking.
2.) There is nothing scarier than inhaling a piece of fake snow while attempting to gracefully circle the stage like a waltzing life-size snowflake. Don’t breathe through your mouth…you’ve been warned.
3.) “As visions of Sugarplums danced in their heads” is not just a line in a poem. It’s called Nutcracker Seasonal Sleep Disorder (NSSD), and the dance dreams of Nutcracker performances gone wrong will haunt you if you don’t take the proper precautions. Chamomile and melatonin for all!
4.) Trying to keep your dressing room area clean is almost always an unsuccessful venture. There will be eyelash glue stuck to your hairspray and blush dust all over your makeup case. I promise.
5). Yes, getting into the shower to soften up that hair-helmet after the show is extremely satisfying, and yes, you will find at least 2 hairpins somewhere in your mane before that shower is over, no matter how many times your fingers scanned your scalp beforehand.
6). Has anyone ever considered just how creepy it looks when a clan of little clown children emerge from underneath Mother Ginger’s giant skirt? Thanking the gods of Nutcracker that our version doesn’t include that strange divertissement.
7.) The debate over whether it’s Clara or Marie (I’ve even seen “Tess”), is one for which there will never be an answer that appeases everyone.*
8.) Whenever you see an actual nutcracker, you immediately picture what the costume would look like if that particular nutcracker were to grow 5 feet taller, come to life and battle a Mouse Queen. Or maybe that’s just me…?
9.) There is nothing Christmasier (just go with it) than dancing amongst rows of Marzipan, Chocolate, Tea, Coffee, Sugar Plums, Trepak, and Flowers as the energetic music of the coda builds and rushes to an explosive halt. It also sounds delicious.
10.) The holiday season is not complete without a visit from the party guest of honor, Uncle Drosselmyer, and his strange behaviors, questionable relation to the family and the absolutely terrifying giant mouse attack nightmare turned wonderful sweet dream he seems to orchestrate (also questionable).
*Ps, it’s Clara.