The Nutcracker Ballet: A Seasonal Classic
This past Sunday, I got to see The California Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker in sunny San Diego, California. It wasn’t long before I was swept up in the magic of it all over again. The dancers, the colors, the music, there is nothing quite like it. I firmly believe there is no such thing as a bad rendition of The Nutcracker, so long as the performers-- young or old, amateur or professional, put their heart in it and the audience is willing to believe in magic.
The last time I was able to watch The Nutcracker was three years ago, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I watched Clara dance with her nutcracker. I was surprised each and every time the soldiers fired at the Rat King’s army, I was mystified by the Snow Queen as she danced with snowflakes twirling and falling around her. And while I could see the kids in the theatre pretending to be ballerinas, and whispering in excitement and anticipation for the Sugar Plum Fairy to make an appearance, I was excited for the part that enthralled me as a child and is still my favorite today; the Russian dancers.
As I was watching the Russian dancers leap across the stage and pull of moves I could never do in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t help but think back to all the times I watched those dancers as I child. As I’m sure you’ve heard a hundred times, my yearly viewing of The Nutcracker had an undeniable hand in my short-lived career as a ballerina, but I think The Nutcracker also had a hand in inspiring my imagination.
I’ve always been a creative kid, obsessed with creating stories and whole new worlds and The Nutcracker to me is about imagination, and adventure, and overcoming fears. It’s also about not listening to what everyone else says and holding on to the magic you believed in as a child. It reminds me every time I see it that magic is everywhere, in the big things and the little things, in everyday life, and certainly around Christmas.
If you haven’t gotten to see The Nutcracker yet this year, I encourage you to as soon as possible. You don’t have to go to the ballet, you can watch it as a cartoon, or read the story, and if it’s been awhile since you were last exposed to its magic, let go of all that adulthood and mature expectations and allow yourself to revert back to being a child, and remember that magic, remember it and never let it go again.