Monday, December 20, 2010

Sugarplum Fairies and Nutcracker Sweets

Anna and I had our annual trip to the Columbia City Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker on Sunday afternoon.  It was the 30th anniversary of the CCB's holiday show - and it didn't disappoint.  I have to say, I've seen some pretty famous productions of the Nutcracker in years past - the Houston Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and used to watch the Gelsey Kirkland/Mikhail Baryshnikov televised version every year that it came on PBS - and this local production is right up there with the best.

The dancers twirled and pirouetted and arabesqued across the stage to the familiar sounds, while Anna's eyes were wide with delight.  This year we attended with some dear friends, which was lovely.  (The only distraction was reminding Anna and Ella Grace to stop talking ... mostly instigated by Anna who couldn't wait to discuss all she saw with her little friend.)

It's funny to see Anna's progression through the years - from the very first time she saw the ballet, perched on the edge of her seat - wide eyed and silent the entire time - absorbing every sound and sight she saw - to this year - where she chatted and giggled and sighed at the beauty of it all.

We had wonderful seats - fourth from the stage in the orchestra section - which I feared might be too close - but ended up being perfect.  The three little girls had an excellent vantage point, as did the mommies and grandmama in our group.

Following the show - Anna and I took the backstage tour (like last year) where we got to sit in Clara's sleigh, sit in her throne from the Land of Sweets, hold Clara's nutcracker, and this year, go under the hoops of Mother Ginger's skirt.  And finally, after waiting patiently in line, Anna was able to meet Clara - so excited she could barely say hello to her.

Anna and Clara

It was a wonderful time together - a mother/daughter tradition that I adore sharing with my own little girl.  Of course I missed my mother terribly - as this was 'our thing' for as many years as I can remember.  The only years we missed seeing the ballet together were when I was away and living in Europe - and then the early years of Deonne and I's marriage when we didn't travel west for the holiday.  That's a lot of Nutcrackers we
saw.  Or participated in - back in the day - when I had ridiculous aspiring dreams of being a ballerina myself.  Dreams that mom supported - all the way to helping do make-up for us Bon-Bons (the girls that came out of Mother Ginger's skirt) and through my yearly drama of not being cast as Clara (or a child in the party scene.... a childhood scar I'll never get over.)  Ha!

So when the overture started yesterday, I felt that familiar lump swell up in my throat, and tears prick my eyes.  I managed to keep it at bay, until the Snow Queen and her Prince performed their pas de deux.  That was always my mother and I's favorite part.  And it was so beautiful - it brought tears to my eyes.

And I let them fall.

(Pictures below are completely out of order - but are lovely nonetheless.)

The Dew Drop Fairy and her Cavalier - and Anna -
we ended up being at the right place at the right time to get this photograph.

The Chinese Girl - probably one of the favorite acts
from the Land of Sweets.

Sitting in Clara's Throne
and the Nutcracker!

Clara's Magical Winter Sleigh

My Precious One

Anna has started a collection of snow-globes as a special treat
from the Nutcracker each year.

Addie Mac, Ella Grace, and Anna

The Snow Queen!
(my favorite)

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