Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Nutcracker

I know that it typically doesn't count as a movie or a holiday special, but is rather a ballet performed across the world during this time. I'm making an exception for the American Ballet Theater's production done with Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
For the longest time, this was the only performance other than the one we put on in tiny little Abilene, Texas that I could stomach. Most of the other performances, including our rival ballet company's in Abilene (seriously, was there truly a need for there to be TWO different productions in one town of 100K people? Especially when ONE particular company had been doing it for TWENTY years? Yeah, I didn't think so, either.), left something to be desired technique-wise. Oh, the choreography was fine, acceptable even, but it's always the little details that I notice. Hand placement. Movement. Balance. Arms. Overly-arched backs. That sort of thing. I truly believe that my Ballet-Russe and New York City Ballet-trained instructor was the strictest person in the world when it came to technique, and it showed in our productions.
As a young adult, I had many roles in the production, and I grew up along the way. I started out as a party girl and confection. I moved on to become a snowflake, guiding angel, guardian angel, tea, coffee, flower, maid, and candy cane. The last two, by the way, were solos. :)
On Saturday, December 7, 1991, at 6:55 P.M. I was standing alone on stage, behind the main curtain, waiting for it to go up. It was my second to last performance as the maid (or anything else) in our company's Nutcracker. As the overture crescendo'd to the final bars, I took position by the prop fireplace, feather duster in hand, smile in place, cap starched to perfection. I had no idea that this weekend would be the last time a performance was held by the Abilene Metropolitan Dance Company. I thought only of the music. The strains to the opening act began as the curtain simultaneously rose. I began to dance. Pique, changement, fouete, grand jete... Light a candle... Dance with a beautifully-wrapped Christmas gift held high.
Two hours later, it was all over, only to be repeated again Sunday at 2PM. I poured my heart and soul into those two performances of my senior year. I somehow knew that they would be special and meaningful.
I've posted before about what ballet has meant to me. For over thirteen years while growing up (and into college), ballet was my world. It was and is the epitome of beauty, grace, and perfection. I sometimes wish for a little girl to pass along my love of the art, but I know that it won't happen. Besides, that isn't a good enough reason to have another child. I do miss dancing. It was my "talent." It was my "thing" if you will. I may never have been a professional and I may not have ever cut it in any large city's ballet company, but it is still mine.
I suppose I'm being sentimental, but I'm having these crazy-strong urges to go enroll in some classes. Heh. Like *I* have the time!

No comments: