My feet are currently submerged in a bucket of ice, there are toe pads soaking in my bathroom sink and I have 3 different doctor’s appointments today. Nutcracker season has ARRIVED and it is making its presence known.
In a small company (we’re all of 25 dancers total- including trainees & apprentices) each one of us plays a crucial role (no pun intended) in getting our Nutcracker to the stage. In some shows, all I have to focus on is dancing Sugarplum, but in another I’ll be hosting the season’s greatest Christmas party as Clara’s mother, ushering our little heroine and her prince into the Land of Sweets as a Lead Snowflake, and finishing the evening off with all of the sass as a chocolate-charged Spanish dancer. Another set of shows have me maintaining the intricate lines and formations that create a storm on stage in the Snowflake Corps (one of ballet’s most important and difficult aspects!) and putting my tilted cheek and most turned out foot forward as a sweet- yet technically proficient- Marzipan dancer.
Besides a few quick changes in which a great deal of fake curls are replaced with a silvery sparkling tiara to the muted intercom version of an epic battle, the performances themselves are relatively manageable. By the time we reach the theater, my stamina is such that, in fact, performing these roles does not cause much stress. The rehearsal process, however, is vastly different…
Typically, during the last 2 weeks leading up to a show, rehearsals tend to go as follows: run the piece, go through and adjust all corrections, and run the piece again. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the piece. It’s designed to make completely sure that our strength and endurance are high enough to perform at our best with two shows a day at PPAC. It’s effective. It’s strenuous. Okay, it’s brutal. But it works, and it makes a (60 degree?!) Sunday in December spent almost entirely indoors completely guilt-free.
If you’re in the area, grab a ticket and come experience the
PS- My aforementioned crazy costume changes receive some videographic kin in Boston Ballet’s awesome time-lapse compilation of Second Soloist Paul Craig’s many different Nutcracker roles here.