We call it the "most wonderful time of the year" because of family gatherings, reunited with friends, and upheld traditions. Christmastime is my favorite time of year for those reasons, but also because of a tradition that began when I was an 8 year old dancing stick child in the Nutcracker Ballet at my community arts center. I am immensely thankful to this day that my mother got me involved with ballet so young, because this annual production became a part of who I am.
The Nutcracker has never been just a tradition, but a way of life. From the time I was cast as one of Fritz's cohorts, up until my senior year as a Sugar Plum Fairy, a feeling of home always rushed over me when hearing Tchaikovsky's most famous composition with my best friends by my side the whole way. To this day hearing the score makes me feel like I'm in the wings about to rosin my shoes up for the Sugar Plum solo.
Being on that stage, as small as it was gave a feeling of such pride and artistry that is indescribable to others who haven't felt the same thing. I can remember watching all the senior girls before me to the grande pas from the wings and thinking that I wanted to do that someday. When that day came, I was in eighth grade and danced my heart and soul out each night of the 13-performance run. Ever since then I've danced the leads with the direction of my amazing teacher who had formerly danced professionally and knew the ballet better than anyone until this year, having started a new career at college.
Hearing the music affects me now more than ever and probably always will knowing I'll never dance those amazing roles with my dearest friends again. However with Christmas approaching I look back with the fondest memories of the greatest era of my life to date.