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The Sweetest Dreams Come to Life through the Nutcracker

GROWING up, I remember my mom dressing me up in a navy velvet Christmas dress to see the Nutcracker ballet. She even let me wear my tiara. I had no idea the effect the ballet would have on me. Sitting in the audience, I was overwhelmed by a dreamy feeling of Tchaikovsky’s music, the winter wonderland set, George Balanchine’s choreography, but most of all how I felt the urge to dance.

Watching the Nutcracker today with my own children at the Winspear Opera House seeing the Texas Ballet Theater, I am still taken back to my childhood and those same dreamy feelings. There is magic in the Nutcracker with the Kingdom of Sweets, Sugar Plum Fairy, snowflakes, tutus…it leaves you spellbound and inspired.

The Nutcracker is a fairly old ballet. The first performance was in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia (it was not a success). George Balanchine choreographed The Nutcracker premiering in New York City in 1954. Balanchine's Nutcracker was nostalgic of his Russian Christmases and has remained successful and a Christmas tradition.

The Nutcracker ballet will forever attract the young and the young at heart. Drosselmeyer (the man of mystery) is the only thing “old” in The Nutcracker.  The many children onstage help to keep the ballet so young and innocent. It is a story from a child’s dreams and watching it, you become part of the fantasy.

Fritz and Marie (or Clara) are like all children...impatient and restless. When Drosselmeyer gives Marie a Nutcracker doll and her brother Fritz breaks it, the children in the audience can relate to them.

When children watch The Nutcracker, they feel inspired as if they are seeing their sweetest dreams come to life. I love the expression that children have when watching ballet…it is true wonderment and MAGIC!

The Nutcracker is ballet bliss. When the ballet ends, the audience feels like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and wonders…was it really all a dream? My daughter asked me, “Mommy was that…real snow? angel really flying? Christmas tree really growing? The best response I could think of was, “It’s real in your heart.” 

I was lucky to view that expression children have when seeing ballet up close when I danced for the second grade (where I teach school). Our reading book story was about ballet so it was absolutely necessary that I taught second grade in my tutu and pointe shoes! 

Ballet is magical!

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