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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Visions of Sugar PlumsPosted Monday, December 22, 2008, at 1:47 PM
This past weekend I saw "The Nutcracker" performed by the Kansas City Ballet. It was neither the best nor the worst production of that traditional Christmas ballet that I have seen, but it was enjoyable regardless.
"The Nutcracker" has always been an important part of my Christmas. I have Nutcracker nesting dolls and Nutcracker ornaments, Nutcracker storybooks and Nutcracker music on CD. I have photos and videos of me dancing in "The Nutcracker."
I began taking ballet lessons in kindergarten, and from fifth to eighth grade, I was part of a dance studio that put on "The Nutcracker" annually. My first year I was in the Arabian dance only; my second, in the Waltz of the Flowers.
As I grew up and into pointe shoes, I became one of the more advanced dancers and was cast in multiple roles. My final year, I danced solos in the opening party scene and the Arabian number, and I was also in the snowflake ensemble.
Because I was in the production, I was in the know on some of the "magic" worked in the ballet. I knew how the Nutcracker's jaw "broke off" with Velcro; I knew how the Christmas tree in Clara's living room grew; I knew how the snow was made to fall on stage.
But even from behind the scenes, Tchaikovsky's ballet is magical. It is the story of a girl who has the most wonderful dream on Christmas Eve, or maybe it isn't a dream. Maybe she really was a princess for one night and got to taste Arabian coffee, Spanish chocolate, marzipan and sugar plums, all in the company of her Nutcracker prince charming.
On Saturday evening, the magic came alive for me as always, though maybe not as easily as when I was young. I would have liked the piccolo to be more in tune and the trumpet to have played without fracks. It would have been nice to see more charisma from some of the dancers and harder lifts during the pas de deux.
Nevertheless, my toes were tapping and my hands conducting; I barely took my eyes off the stage. And the little girl behind me who kept whispering questions to her mother only made it better. Her wonder became my wonder, her excitement mine, as each scene brought new and beautiful delicacies to enjoy.
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Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.