the nutcracker

I’ve taken Ava to the local production of the “Nutcracker” for the past two years. To be honest, it’s been a mixed bag of loving the exciting parts of the show while sleeping through the rest. Par for the course when you take a three, and then a four year old. This year, I was taking both girls. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but love having this holiday tradition of lunch and the ballet.

We dressed up, ate a small cafe, enjoyed a sticky sweet dessert, and then walked over to the historic Fox Theater in Redwood City. For forty-three years the Peninsula Ballet Theatre has been putting this special show for all the bay area families. They transported the audience over a hundred years ago to tell the timeless story of the Clara and her Nutcracker. A much needed break from the seasonal hustle and bustle. A two-hour sabbatical of beauty in motion.

The girls loved it. They were mesmerized by the sparkly costumes and beautiful ballet. They asked questions like, “Why don’t they talk?” and “Is the snow real?” and “How did the tree grow so big?” They marveled when the ballerinas went on pointe. They gushed over the young man who played the Nutcracker; they thought he was handsome. Both girls wished to be the beloved Sugar Plum fairy. I thought for sure it would be the Snow Queen, but in our house bejeweled purple wins out over sparkly silver and white.

After the show, the audience was welcomed on stage to mingle and get autographs from the dancers. It was crowded and a little chaotic, but parents and children alike were  polite and waited patiently for a turn with their favorite dancer. A small child dressed as a monkey wandered up to us, wanting to sign our playbill. She couldn’t have been more than five years old. I handed her our program and she scrawled “CHLOE” next to her name. It was the sweetest moment.

The girls sought out the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen. Posing for pictures and getting their books signed. I loved the intimacy of meeting the dancers and seeing them up close. Gracefully gracious. Costumes sparkled in the low light.

The Nutcracker really touched Ava this year.  She was inspired. She danced her way out of the theater. She danced across the street to the park. She danced on “pointe” on the stairs, leaped across the long paved courtyard, and twirled around the tables. Once home, I put on the “Nutcracker” station on Pandora. Ava changed into a one of her glittered satin, filled with fluffy tulle costumes, and danced some more.

As the Christmas tree twinkled, Ava spun around the living room cradling her Nutcracker. Little did she know that she brought a little magic from ballet home to stay.

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