Wednesday December 4 2013 312 pmTweet
Last week was a crazy week in our house. Not only was it Thanksgivukkah, but it was Nutcracker week–for me, the first Nutcracker week in almost thirty years.
I grew up with The Nutcracker. From the time I danced my first role as one of Mother Ginger’s clown children at the age of nine or ten until I left the world of professional ballet at the age of eighteen, October through December each year was dominated by my rehearsal and performance schedule. Long before my final performance, I knew the ballet so well I could hum the entire score, bar for bar, without missing a note.
That was a long time ago.
On Friday, eight-year-old “Emmie” performed in her first Nutcracker. She was a polichinelle, another name for the same role as my first. Weeks of rehearsals culminated in a grueling, long-weekend schedule: a stage rehearsal and opening-night performance on Friday, three performances on Saturday and two performances on Sunday.
Emmie had been anticipating this Nutcracker since the summer. It was the first year she was old enough to audition, and if I say she was excited, I’m making a considerable understatement. But I wondered how an eight-year-old who still needs at least ten hours of sleep each night would cope with the demands of the weekend.
Adrenaline and enthusiasm won. Fatigue hit Emmie as soon as opening night was over, but she kept going. For three days, she didn’t argue with anything anyone asked of her, made it to the theater on time, ate only healthy food, rested when she could, followed all the rules, danced her role on stage, let me scrub off her makeup and did it all again.
The Nutcracker allowed Emmie to grow in ways nothing else has. (more…)