1. Tchaikovsky’s score is on your iPod most of the year.
2. You randomly get very emotional listening to it…
3. You’d rather be a back-row flower or back-row mouse than not be in Nutcracker…
5. When someone says “holiday party,” you think:
4. When someone says “hot chocolate,” “coffee,” “marzipan,” or “candy canes,” you assume they are referring to dances — and you probably start demonstrating some of the choreography…
6. If you’ve never been Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy or the Nutcracker Prince, it’s probably like your biggest dream ever — no matter your age or how improbable it is…
7. In your personal artistic opinion, Nutcracker is totally better than Swan Lake, though you LOVE Swan Lake. (Of course, you’ve never admitted this out loud…)
8. You start missing Nutcracker as soon as — well — your last Nutcracker performance of the season…
9. You start anticipating Nutcracker as soon as — well — your last Nutcracker performance of the season…
10. You can’t remember yesterday’s tendu combo, but know every step of every Nutcracker role you’ve performed in the past 10 years…
The Nutcracker first came alive through dance over 100 winters ago in St. Petersburg, Russia. Here’s what you might not know about Act II of 1892…
1. The “Waltz of the Flowers” Was Inspired by Another Famous Ballet Waltz
What do Disney’s song “Once Upon a Dream” and the “Waltz of the Flowers” have in common?
They share the same source of inspiration!
The Nutcracker’s original choreographer, Marius Petipa, wanted the “Waltz of the Flowers” to evoke the scene of the “Village Waltz” (a.k.a. “Garland Waltz”) that he created in his collaboration with composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for The Sleeping Beauty two years earlier.
Petipa’s original outline for the “Waltz of the Flowers” even called for dancers to carry garlands…
2. The “Trepak” Was Sugar-Free
There wasn’t a candy cane in sight, nor a Russian character dancer for that matter…
Russian character steps were Petipa’s original plan, but when illness forced him to bow out of the production, his assistant, Lev Ivanov, who was put in charge, eventually decided that he didn’t care for this idea.
Following the suggestion of an artist, Ivanov changed the “Trepak” into a dance for a jester with a hoop.
Yes, he did indeed send in the clowns…
3. The Sugar Plum Fairy Had Nothing to Do with Plums
Though she’s often gorgeously costumed in visions of purple today, this most beloved fairy in all of ballet was not meant to represent a serving of your daily fruit intake.
Plums preserved in sugar have been around for centuries, but the sugar plums that inspired the Sugar Plum Fairy were once-popular sweets made of sugar coating layered over nut or seed centers.
If that description sounds a little, well, underwhelming—never fear—there’s more to the story…
The meaning of “sugar plum” radiates beyond the realm of candy. At the time The Nutcracker first appeared on stage, the term also meant anything lovely and desirable.
So, yes, the Sugar Plum Fairy is truly sugar, spice, and everything nice!
The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov: Choreographer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, Roland John Wiley, Oxford University Press, 1997.
The Nutcracker Ballet, Jack Anderson, Mayflower Books, 1979
Nutcracker Nation, Jennifer Fisher, Yale University Press, 2003
Alexander Shiriaev: The Hidden Genius of Ballet and Film, Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine online, Dec. 23, 2011
What Are Sugar Plums Anyway?, Rebecca Rupp, National Geographic, December 23, 2014
What’s your favorite ballet flower scene? Here are some memorable ones…
Rose Adagio—The Sleeping Beauty
Are flowers the way the to the heart? Not in this case. Princess Aurora doesn’t find true love with any of her rose-bearing suitors, but her dance with them is one of the most famous in all of ballet.
Garland Waltz—The Sleeping Beauty
Flowers, flowers everywhere! Presumably the village people didn’t suffer from allergies. Or perhaps some good fairy freed them from that curse… (This clip doesn’t show the entire stage, but I do like the close-up view of the Mariinsky’s version.)
Lilac Fairy’s Variation—The Sleeping Beauty
What floral-inspired magical creature saves the day and rocks a purple wig at the same time? The Lilac Fairy, of course! But, before all of the drama—a dance.
“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…”—Giselle
Spoiler alert: the flower tells the truth.
Le Jardin Animé—Le Corsaire
If you didn’t get enough flowers in the “Garland Waltz,” this scene in Le Cosaire basically blossoms into balletic botanical garden.
Waltz of the Flowers—The Nutcracker
Beautiful any time of year… Besides, there’s a good chance this music dances through your head all year anyway.
All the feels. Every December. Can you relate? 😉
(Via Tumblr: lady-arryn)
Linger as long as possible at the theater. Take one last cast picture with friends. Take one last dressing room selfie. Help anyone and everyone put away costumes and props, whether they need or want your help or not. Take one last panoramic view of the stage. Take one last artsy, Instagram photo of the stage…Repeat as desired–or until security throws you out.
(Via Pinterest: terpsichoremovementasmuse.tumblr.com)
Wonder why magic has to end so soon… Suddenly recall every real (or imagined) shortcoming in your performances–your double turns, your nervous smiles, that time you put your headpiece on backwards during a quick change–valuable moments onstage you’ll never get back….Why, why, why…
(Via Tumblr: lady-arryn)
Remember that the show can still go on…on social media! Make photo albums for Facebook. Add half a dozen filtered pictures and videos to Instagram in one evening. Tweet cryptic, bittersweet tweets hourly. If anyone unfollows you for oversharing, well, they weren’t a true friend anyway…
Anyway, at least there is next year… Yes, think about next year… There are probably three or four roles you’d be a candidate for… But, which ones are you most likely to get? So many factors worthy of obsession here… What if you grow a couple of inches? What if you somehow shrink? What if your petit allegro miraculously improves?
Resistance is futile. Listen to sad songs. Indulge in mournful improv.
Try to distract yourself…Chocolate. Peppy music. Movie binge. Chocolate. Peppy music. Movie binge. Clean your room for the first time in forever. Peppy music. It’s going to be okay! You are sooo okay!
Go to bed. Lie awake. Get back on Facebook. Post more backstage pictures.
(Via Tumblr: lady-arryn)
Sometimes, it actually happens…eventually. 😉
I can’t say it better than this…And the observation applies to other Nutcrackers as well. 🙂