one final push


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 marathon magic.

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.

a very nutty friday

With two shows in Winchester and another week of rehearsals under my belt, it’s safe to say I am officially in full on Nutcracking mode.  It only seemed appropriate to have this week’s links reflect my current nutty state of mind…

Secrets behind the magic of The Nutcracker from the Royal Opera House.  (spoiler alert)

“The greatest mysteries, however, remain in the music we already know. What does the Sugar Plum’s adagio express? We can say it’s about the sublimity of a perfect being; we can say its huge, cascading scales are liturgical, Tchaikovsky’s requiem for his beloved sister (who died while he was preparing the ballet); it contains both glory and tragedy.” -New York Times dance critic, Alastair Macauly, on the mystery and reward of his annual Nutcracker marathons.  (reminds me of the Nutcracker mini-marathons my mom and I used to do)

Meet the Sugarplums of Boston (Hi Ashley!)

Festival Ballet’s Adaptive Dance program comes to the Nutcracker stage. (heartwarming)

Dew Drop is my favorite part of Balanchine’s Nutcracker. (so dynamic)

A while back my mom and I went on a little date to see the Bolshoi Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet– in a movie theater a few miles away from Providence.  Though an entirely different experience from that of attending a live performance, seeing ballet on the big screen was stunning in its own way, and the behind-the-scenes footage and commentary were so cool.  Now is your chance to see what I mean- this weekend The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker will be screening at a view different theaters around the country. (check out the RI schedule here!)

And while you’re at it, check out some of The Royal Ballet’s rehearsal shots from their time in the studio preparing The Nutcracker. (lovely)

For tickets to FBP’s Nutcracker at PPAC next weekend. (shop local)