This weekend marks my eighteenth year performing in Festival Ballet Providence’s The Nutcracker. That’s right, folks. My Nutcracker career will officially be a legal adult with voting rights by Sunday evening. I am equal parts giddy and flabbergasted. Where the heck did the time go?
The most remarkable thing about this 18-year marker, I think, is the fact that after hundreds of Nutcrackers, there is still something new; This year I will be dancing the role of Snow Queen for the very first time. Snow pas has always been a favorite of mine…the triumphant horns, the imminence of spritely snowflakes, the sweeping lifts. Misha likes to describe the pas de deux like the beginning of a snow storm, little pockets of icy air chasing each other into swirls. A is the wind and I am swept up in him, spreading diamonds over the stage with my crystal wake. Ah, to be Queen of the Snow…
Of course I am also honored and excited to manifest visions of Sugarplums and whirling Dew Drops once again! If you find yourself in Providence this weekend, you can find tickets here.
In the 17 years of Nutcrackering I mentioned previously, the addition of new roles to dance has naturally slowed over time. From the fiery school times of annual auditions and casting letters, each winter bringing a brand new experience- angel, candy doll, party girl, mouse-attendant-trepak-maid- to the Junior Company track- Clara, snow & flower corps- to the company years- a bevy of divertissements- the progression has been much like a quarter spun on a table: at first so quick you can hardly recognize it, then gradually settling into a comforting rhythm. With a few exceptions over the past 7 company years (seeing my name in the Spanish rehearsals was a true- and at first unwelcome- shock!), my Nutcracker roles have felt fairly familiar for some time. This year that changed.
I’ve been plucked from the party scene entirely (the ‘party girl’ child in me weeps for this), and doled a brand new role in exchange for the many diverts I once danced: Dew Drop. While I have done the Waltz of the Flowers more times than I’ll attempt to count, never have I experienced the iconic scene from the sparkling pink tutu of the Dew Drop. Heck, never have I even worn a real pink tutu on stage (!).
In our version, the Dew Drop is dramatic, but spritely, melodious yet quick. I’m visualizing a drop of evening dew descending from its nap on a flower petal. She scurries down toward the end of the petal, then slowly stretches over the edge, allowing just half of her to dangle as she grips on to her fluffy bed. Once all of her bitty body has pooled, she drops down, flying through the air too quickly to be seen. But her splash seems to be everywhere. The Dew Drop is felt all over, but never truly seen. Just as she catches your eye, her plummet begins and she’s gone. She’s a sparkling tinker, more of a reflection of the flowers she splashes amongst than a form of her own. And she is all to pleased to be it.
If I can emulate physically even a fraction of what I’m visualizing, I will be happy. Oh, and nailing all those fouettés would be nice, too.