Here I am, flipping through the channels and I come across The Bolshoi Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The music and the dancing takes me back to my youth. I don’t even know how many times I performed in The Nutcracker from the time I was 9 all the way through college with the dance company, Ballet Northwest.
There’s simply a magic to it that I have a hard time describing. Just hearing the music plucks my heartstrings and brings tears to my eyes. The costumes, the make-up, the sets and the lights, the hustle and bustle of backstage, even the audience. And of course the dancing. My body and soul ache with missing it. I can remember that first audition, being wracked with nerves and desperately looking up to the older girls with their beauty and grace. I had no idea at the time I would become one of them by the time I was in high school and college.
It’s hard to believe that it’s no longer part of my life. As a teenager and young adult, almost all of my free time was spent in the dance studio, taking classes and having rehearsals. I worked my way through the ranks, from dancing in the corps to dancing solos and became well-known for my ability to clear up choreography questions with the artistic director, Bud (who has been a hugely influential person in my life). I miss setting up the stage, joking with the stagehands, waiting in the wings for my entrance, my stomach filled with excitement and nerves. It’s not only about working together to create something unbelievably fantastical for the audience, but also for us, the dancers, the costume designers, the stagehands, the moms backstage.
It’s an experience like no other. Thanks for letting me get lost in the nostalgia (and go see The Nutcracker!).