Like most professional dancers, my first ballet was The Nutcracker. Unlike most professional dancers, though, the very first Nutcracker I ever performed is the same one I have been a part of every year since. That’s right. Next week my Nutcracker career- my Festival Ballet Providence Nutcracker career to be exact- turns 17. I know.
As with any long term relationship, I feel deeply connected to this show. Our special nuances separate the FBP production from all other Nutcrackers, a fact that I was unaware of as a child. It was not until I poked my head out from my little Providence bubble into the ballet world at large that I realized how unifying this ballet is. Companies everywhere tell this same strange story in this same snowed season. But this one has always felt like mine. When you are born into a certain production, this is all you know, after all. The Silberhaus home feels like my own, its squeaky staircase a welcome greeting each December, that stenciled wallpaper a comforting hug. Misha’s twinkling snowflake crowns represented a goal in my childhood, a badge of honor in my early corps years, and to this day are among my favorites to don. From angel to marzipan, a great number of Nutcracker costumes have my name smudged into them. So when I learned several weeks ago that over half of those beloved costumes had been stolen, my heart dropped.
You may have heard, or perhaps you have not, that around 60 Nutcracker costumes, headpieces and props were stolen from our warehouse. You also may assume that with just weeks to cushion the shock, recover from the upset, and salvage the show, tensions might be at an all time high. You might assume that our director is losing it, the dancers are spiraling, and the wardrobe department- well, lack thereof- is forfeiting. But things are not so. FBP, however stirred, could not be more merry. The outpouring of love and support from the ballet world I once knew not of has been truly powerful.
To every person who has so generously aided in the piecing together of our dear Nutcracker, I offer 17 years worth of my most sincere thanks. You are the spirit of December.
Another bit of light from the darkness, this letter from one of our youngest cast members:
For more about our costumes and the companies supporting us: