The Nutcracker

I feel really bad that I have not written a post in a couple of days!  This past weekend is probably the busiest weekend of the year for us.  It was Nutcracker weekend!  My daughters have been dancing in The Nutcracker now for about 9 years or so…it’s been so long that I can’t even remember their first one!

This year, they actually had a pretty light performance schedule—only 4 performances as opposed to 6 or 7.  Every year, they do several performances for a local school district of lower income schools.  These kids are ones that probably would never have the opportunity to go to a performance of The Nutcracker.  My girls LOVE these shows!  They love how excited the kids in the audience get and they love the cheers and laughter.

Now I usually photograph the performances (yes, I wrote “performances” with an “s”), but this year I only got to shoot 3 of the 4 because I was in charge of our Christmas party at work that just happened to be on the same day as the second school performance.  I really hate missing any of the performances, but since my kids like to eat and sleep in a bed, I kinda have to work sometimes! I probably have tens of thousands of images from The Nutcracker.  It is actually one of my favorite things to shoot.  I love catching a ballerina in a mid-air jump or in a lift that lasts for just a few seconds.  Every year,it’s a challenge to me to see if I can get certain shots!

Between my 3 girls, we have had 3 Claras, 2 Sugar Plums, 1 Dew Drop, 1 Snow Queen (for about 4 years running now), 2 Dolls, 2 Merlitons, 3 Ribbons, 3 Candies, 2 Party Boys, 1 soldier, 2 Mice, 2 Arabians, 2 Russians, 1 Chinese, 1 Mrs. Stauhlbaum, 2 Party Guests, 3 Friends of Clara, and I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting something!  Needless to say, we have been very active in The Nutcracker for quite a few years!  We have lived through injuries (last year, Emily danced 1 day after having a hole drilled in her big toenail to relieve the pressure from blood that had built up in there, and this year, Ashley danced all 4 performances with 2 ribs out of place!) and let downs and endless days of rehearsals, but they love it and wouldn’t have it any other way!   I am so proud of all 3 of them!

This year was particularly bittersweet, as my oldest daughter, Ashley, said that this will be her last year performing in The Nutcracker.  This makes me very sad.  She is a beautiful dancer and I can’t imagine anyone else dancing as the Snow Queen.  As she danced in her last performance Saturday night, this mommy got a little teary eyed.  We do have almost every performance on DVD (or video!), so it’s not like I’ll never see it again.  It’s just the thought that my first-born is growing up!  It makes me sad and even more determined to make this Christmas even more special than ever before!

I don’t have any activities or recipes or crafts to leave you with today, so I leave you with these images from the 2011 Attitudes Ballet Theatre Production of The Nutcracker….

Ashley as The Snow Queen

(Yes, she is being tossed in mid-air and yes, she has been dropped before!!)

Emily as The Sugar Plum Fairy

Natalie as a Snowflake Soloist and a Flower

(Natalie could have been Clara this year, but decided she just wanted to do other small parts.)

I hope you all had a great weekend, and spent it making wonderful memories with your family!

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