December 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
Our entire week (well actually the last two months) has been consumed by preparations and rehearsals for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker, which opened this week. For the third year in a row, Bella has been lucky enough to be cast in this gorgeous production – one of the world’s most renowned, with costumes and sets designed by Maurice Sendak. The first year, nervous and new to this world, my Bella shot off the cannon in a little blue Artillery costume. And for the last two years, she’s grown into an Infantry soldier battling the mouse king in a lavish fight scene.
Nutcracker has been a wonderful experience for our whole family – we love hanging out in Seattle’s Queen Anne area while waiting for Bella to rehearse and perform. There are so many cute traditions in this Nutcracker family: like the children’s letters to the professionals, who give them their used pointe shoes in return, and the annual Nutty Nutcracker, a funny variant of the regular show. For me personally, volunteering backstage has been so rewarding. I have applied makeup, helped children get into their costumes and pinned on hats – and I’ve loved every minute.
While I haven’t actually been down to the stage, I can see it in my mind with the details Bella has shared with us. I treasure the mental images of my little girl dressed up with red-circled cheeks and a smart military uniform standing in the wings waiting to go on while beautiful snowflake fairy ballerinas warm up on the bars at the side of the stage. What an amazing experience Bella is getting to be making her debut alongside professionals at the top of their craft, encouraging the littles and making them feel like stars. These are memories we will never, ever forget. For the rest of my life, when I hear Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker I will think of this time in our lives, of this beautiful show and of the pride we feel in getting to be a part of it.