dreaming without sleeping

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Last night visions of sugar plums were quite literally dancing in my head…all. night. long.  A romantic theory, yes, when wedged into the poetic syntax of a classic Christmas rhyme, but stuck between my ears, ringing bells from dusk to dawn?  A little less waiting-up-for-Santa, a little more pacing-my-kitchen-at-3am-annoyed-and-humming-Tchaikovsky.  Yeah.  No thanks.

Despite my complaints and last night’s lack of sleep, I am fully willing to take on all of the stress Nutcracker season throws my way this year, because for the first time ever, I am learning the role of Sugar Plum Fairy(!!!) and realizing that dream is totally worth 2 months of insomnia.*

The first time I saw FBP’s Nutcracker (I think I was 2?), I immediately knew I wanted to be up on that stage.  Dream role at the time: Angel, of course.  When my shuffling feet finally hit the PPAC marley beneath that floating blue hoop skirt at age 8, I was irrevocably hooked.  As the years passed, I set my sights higher and higher, devouring each role that came my way, from Mouse, to Clara, to the unforgettable year I joined the corps in the Waltz of the Flowers and my favorite scene, Snow.  Sugar Plum has always been a lofty goal, but never something I expected to actually have the opportunity to  do.  It is such an iconic role, being able to rehearse it so early on in my career feels like a fantasy.  Shocked, ecstatic, grateful, intimidated…it’s hard to put my current emotions into words.  If all of that wasn’t enough, I get to dance it with my favorite partner, who also happens to be one of my best friends!  Incredible!

So bring it on, sleepless nights and dancing sugar plums.  I’m ready for you.

*If this really is just a dream, please nobody pinch me.

magic moments

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Somehow my trusty and and not at all cynical traditional Nutcracker-closing line “Another Nutcracker in the trenches…” didn’t seem fitting this year.  It’s hard to describe last weekend’s show as being dumped into a wide, muddy hole in the ground when it made me feel so good I thought my heart might just explode right there on the stage.

In the past I’ve tried to illustrate for you those moments in dance when everything feels right- the lights are on you, the music is all you can hear and you completely lose track of everything that lies beyond the stage on which you are dancing.  These are what I’ve dubbed ‘the magic moments’.  Not only are these moments magical because they make you feel like you’re flying 20 feet above the black Marley floor, but also because when they happen, it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s actually real.  Similar to the surprise you might feel when you catch a foul ball at a Red Sox game, there is always a Did that really just happen?! feeling closely following the magic moments.  But then you feel your cheeks cramping up from that relentless smile on your face, and you realize that it’s all very real.

So here’s to another year of The Nutcracker; It was everything it could have been and more.

kelly-plum fairy

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Kelly Ripa Auditions For The Nutcracker

In keeping with this week’s Nutcracker theme, I thought I’d share this little video I stumbled upon this morning (click the link above).  I’ve always been a fan of Kelly’s energy and perfectly timed quips, but after seeing her appreciation and enthusiasm towards ballet, I love her more than ever.  Can’t wait to head off to the city to see NYCB’s show!

What do you think of Kelly’s audition?  I think she really had some nice lines there.  Pointed feet and pretty natural turnout, too…go Kelly!

visions of sugarplums

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One week from today, the curtain will go up at Providence Performing Arts Center and Festival Ballet’s first Nutcracker performance of the season will officially begin!  There’s nothing like listening to the bustling overture while standing backstage dressed in head-to-toe Victorian wear, with a pile of fake curls, braids, rhinstones and pearls on your head and, for lack of a better adjective, “poofy” sleeves large enough to save Jack Dawson from his tragic fate at the end of Titanic. The children of the Party Scene eagerly await their seasonal stage debut, with grins almost as mischievous as their invisible thoughts.  Festival Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has been a part of my life since before I can even remember.  After attending the show as a child with my mother, my sister, and her girl scout’s troupe (and returning to see it again every year after that), I breathlessly anticipated my chance to take the stage.  This will be my 11th year performing in this show, and I honestly, each year I am just as excited to see the curtain go up as I was the very first time.  So here’s to one more week of practicing pirouettes and rehearsing reverences, time to get (nut)cracking!….sorry, couldn’t resist.