Our Nutcracker weekend began with preparations. Our ballet teacher, Ms. Hume, needed some helpers getting things ready for the performance. So on Thursday, I took Alix and Kate and a few of their friends to the auditorium to help out. They were there for about 3 hours and then the other kids and I arrived with some pizza, before we went through the Spacing Rehearsal.
The Spacing Rehearsal is a time for the ballet students to see how they will be spaced on stage for the performance. Since the auditorium is much larger than the ballet school’s dance area, this requires taping marks to the floor to show center stage, half stage, etc. and walking through the routines to know how far apart they need to be from each other.
Here are a few of the adults, and their “daughters”, who joined in for the Party Scene, which was about the first 20 minutes of the performance.
And the rehearsal also includes a few pieces that haven’t been done yet, like Isabella opening an actual box with a bow when she receives the Nutcracker. Up until then, she had just pretended to open something.
And then there was also a good bit of waiting, while directions were given.
Here she is; our wonderful Ms. Hume!
Although she is giving instructions here – she almost always has a smile when we see her! She is one of the kindest, most patient people I’ve known. The kids just love her.
I caught this one of Colleen taking pictures. She got a lot of great shots. (a few of which I borrowed for this post)
And like I said, there was a lot of waiting and watching for the Spacing Rehearsal.
I have to include these twin sisters, Laura and Rachel, who were instrumental to the whole thing. Because Ms. Hume needs a double hip replacement, she is physically limited in what she can do to teach the dances. These girls learned most of the routines and taught them to the dancers. In addition, they themselves danced. They are sweet, thoughtful girls. Our kids love them.
Friday night was the Full Dress Rehearsal!
There was a lot of stage make-up, which the girls were pretty thrilled about..
I was a little less than thrilled with the false eyelashes. In fact, Saturday night before the performance, I was like a one-armed paper hanger trying to re-glue them on Kate and the twins, and myself!
Glenn looked wonderful, as he and Isabella walked around backstage checking things out.
Mr. Steffy, aka Drosselmeier, aka the tap teacher, aka husband to Ms. Hume, led the dancers in a pre-performance warm up.
(you can see Kate in her Doll costume )
And then it was time to do a run-through of the show. Dress Rehearsal is the first time where everyone involved in the production is finally together. Up until now, the routines have been done individually at the ballet school during ballet classes. So there was a lot of starting and stopping, timing to get down, and places to be figured out. It certainly was nothing like the actual performance, which of course couldn’t stop at all.
I don’t know how familiar you are with the Nutcracker story. I’ll try to tell you in a nutshell.
(What?! I couldn’t help it.)
Our version included a twin sister for Clara, named Sara, and her mischievous brother, Fritz.
Their parents are having a Christmas party and have invited lots of friends. There will be gifts, and dancing, of course!
And one surprise visitor, Uncle Drosselmeier, who brings dancing soldiers and 3 unique, life-sized dancing dolls (one of which was Kate).
He also brings a special gift for Clara…..the Nutcracker.
She absolutely loves him and dances around with him.
Everything goes well until Fritz, behaving somewhat unlike his usual self, approaches Clara and handsomely asks her to dance. She’s a little perplexed, but goes along with it.
But of course, he really was being naughty. He tries to take the Nutcracker and it is broken when he falls.
Naturally the girls (and a few of the adults) are quite upset. But then Uncle Drosselmeier fixes the Nutcracker!
All too soon, the party ends. Everyone leaves except Clara and Sara, who search for the Nutcracker before they go to bed.
After the party ends and the girls are asleep, everything around them changes. They are awakened to see that there is a Mouse Queen who battles the Nutcracker in an epic sword fight.
He is victorious. Afterwards he becomes a Prince, and he and Clara go to the Land of Sweets and watch many beautiful dances.
Like these pretty little snow angels.
A beautiful Dawn Fairy.
And many other lovely fairies and dancers, like these Chinese dancers, the Mirlitons, and a Sugar Plum Fairy.
At the end of story, Sara rushes out to give Clara the Nutcracker doll..
And Clara holds the Nutcracker high, turning around and wondering whether it had all been a dream…