When I hear even just a few notes of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score, I cannot help but twirl. Though my ballet skills have surely tarnished since my youth, the music reawakens my urge to arabesque and pas de bourrée across my kitchen floor. Tom Cruise may play air guitar in his undie to Bob Seger, but I put on my imaginary tutu and stage a mini production of my favorite holiday ballet.
Growing up in a small Missouri town, the Christmas season was essentially the only opportunity to experience professional ballet. Sure, we had dance recitals a plenty, but witnessing prima ballerinas on stage was limited to the annual visit of a professional company who performed The Nutcracker.
I remember the excitement of the yearly performance. My mom would let me pick out a special Christmas dress to wear to the ballet. One year I remember wearing a teal velvet dress with bows on the puffy sleeves---it was after all the fashion-challenged eighties. Now, when I hear those indelible notes and signature phrases, I am reminded again of the magic of Christmas and the beauty of ballet.
Images borrowed from NewYorkCityBallet & SanFranciscoBallet.
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