For many folks, going to see The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. I often hear folks talk about it like it’s just not the Christmas season until they see The Nutcracker.
For many years, it was one of my traditions too. Not going to see it, mind you, dancing in it.
For six years of my life, September through early December was dominated by The Nutcracker. The rehearsals, the costume fittings, more rehearsals… oh, and the drama. My high school provided the corps de ballet for the state ballet company. Fifty teenagers with their usual melodrama inflated by casting decisions, endless rehearsals… mercy.
By the time I graduated, I was Nutcraker-ed out. Just the music was enough to send me into PTSD-like flashbacks, and with every shopping mall in America having the Sugar Plum pas de deux on an endless loop, I left more than one store screaming.
I couldn’t even watch Nutcracker. Not to brag, but I think the version my company did was one of the best I’ve ever seen, plus, it’s all tied up with memories of friends and performances and “that time when…”
And not all of those memories are good ones.
So, there was no way in hell I was going to pay good money to park myself in a theater and watch a performance that would most likely send me to the closest bar in need of a stiff drink and probably not measure up to my expectations anyway.
For someone who lived and breathed Nutcracker for three months of every year for six years, I’ve probably watched the Nutcracker maybe three times in the last twenty years.
But this year, we’re going to see if I’ve matured and outgrown my Nutcracker aversion. I’m chaperoning AC’s class trip to the Nutcracker this week. AC is thrilled, because she’s never seen it live. (I know, until you read the above paragraphs, I bet you thought I’d been dragging my child to the ballet every chance I had. Teenage trauma lingers longer than you’d think. Just ask the Playfriends about my weight issues… In comparison, my Nutcracker aversion is almost normal.)
I guess we’ll find out if time heals all wounds or if I need more therapy from Counselor Shelley.
So, is Nutcracker a part of your holiday tradition? What’s your favorite bit?
*** Notes on the pictures (which I figured y’all would want to see). First, I’m kind of surprised at how few pictures I have of me in various costumes and performances. I guess it just goes to show how this was just same-ol’-same-ol’ in my teenage life and it just didn’t occur to me to document it.
But, to caption them. I'm 14, maybe 15, in that soldier picture. I’d just come off stage and was headed down to the dressing room to change for second act. The reason my hair is in pigtails is that I was a child in the party scene, with a quick change to soldier. The pigtails (and the bows) got shoved under a hat. My friend was in the same situation. Once we took off our hats, we felt we looked like majorettes, hence the pose. The next one is from 1988, so I'd just turned 16. I’m a candy cane in Act Two (I don’t know why my candy cane costume was green. It’s still a mystery. It’s a pretty tutu though…)
The last one isn't Nutcracker, it's Napoli (and I'm 16 or 17),but it's still a cute picture of me in costume!
***Tomorrow, Melanie Milburne joins us on the blog!