Tag Archives: Nutcracker

Theater week is here

Hard to believe we’re one day away from our performances.

Dress rehearsal is tonight. That’s after a spacing rehearsal on Sunday, Act II tech rehearsal Monday and Act I tech rehearsal last night.

I have to admit I’m always a little nervous when we hit the theater, but I think most of the butterflies went away during spacing rehearsal for Chinese on Sunday.

Monday was the most physical of the rehearsals, but the most fun. We ran through Chinese three times, and the finale. We also went over our Nutty Nutcracker finale dance a couple of times … aka the evolution of dance. I was beat when it was over, but it was fun.

Last night was brutal. Don’t get me wrong, loved rehearsing the party scene. But I am in a harness, moving the magical bed, during the battle scene. My knees took a pounding with all of the stopping of the music.

I slept in this morning rather than going to a 10 a.m. open class. My body needed the extra sleep to recover. Company warmup is at 6 tonight, followed by dress rehearsal, which is scheduled to last until 10:30 p.m.

Curtain is up at 9:30 tomorrow for the first of eight shows in four days, counting the Nutty Nutcracker performance Sunday night. What little free time I have this week is about to disappear.

I’ve included photos of the stage, my dressing room (it was empty Monday since I share the dressing room with the rest of the party dads, but I am the only one who is in Act II, and the only one with a costume change).

I’ve also included photos from our last week in the studio.
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When Nutcracker tunes are stuck in your head …

One glance at the rehearsal schedule made me realize that what little down time I have over the next few weeks has disappeared.

Last Saturday, we had Act II rehearsal from 4:0-5:30. I worked split shifts to make it. It’s my favorite part, being in the Chinese dance the the finale waltz. I am by far the oldest dancer in Act II.

I was worn out when I walked out of work Saturday night around midnight. Two of my co-workers have quit. The workload on Saturday is usually a bear under normal circumstances. Now, it’s tough.

Sunday is normally an off day. But both people who quit worked on Sunday. We rehearsed the party scene for the first time (well, the children have already been rehearsing). But this was the first time the “parents” were thrown in.

So, I’ll strolled into the studio at 11:15 for a rehearsal that started at 11:30. Party scene rehearsal ended at 2 … and then for the next 90 minutes, it was time to practice my most brutal part … being “bed boy” during the battle scene.

What is “bed boy?” He’s the poor dancer under Clara’s bed, moving it across the stage making it appear to move like magic. Yeah, that’s me. It’s grunt work, too on the knees, very little vision, moving across the marley, making sure I’m aware of what part we’re at in the battle scene score (Got to be the longest in Nutcracker).

I staggered out of the studio at 3:30. Back in the office at 4, cursing me ex-coworkers for the fact that I wasn’t done for the day. I strolled out of the office at midnight.

I had every intention of making the 9:30 open class. But I watched The Walking Dead before hitting the bed. I was still feeling the rehearsals (and still hearing the music) when I woke up. I had a college class at 11:30 that I normally race from ballet class to make.

But I felt my body needed the extra couple of hours sleep to recover.

I have an open class Wednesday, and just looked on the rehearsal schedule and was surprised to see we’re running Act 2 Complete on Friday night after I get off work.

And then, after company class from 10-11:30 on Saturday, it’s back at it with Act II from 11:30 to 1:30, and rehearsal for our Gone Wild performance before staggering back into the office for another eight hour shift.

I can say why God rested on the seventh day. But my rest won’t come on Sunday. Party scene is 11:30-1:30, followed by battle scene from 1:30-2:30.

And then there is work.

I’m not complaining. My girlfriend said “Well, you’ve signed up for this.”

I did not sign up for having two ex-coworkers quitting in addition to the regular work, college work and dance load.

I love ballet. I love performing in The Nutcracker, even if the music does rattle around in my head until February.

And there are no rehearsals again until at least Dec. 1, which will allow my body to recover.

And other styles of music to creep back in my head.


Left out my favorite Nutcracker Photo

Left out my favorite Nutcracker Photo

Who says Chinese Lions can’t fly


More Nutcracker photos

As promised, more photos from our Nutcracker:

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I’m in every photo except Arabian and Snow (that is if you count that I’m under the bed for the battle scene).


Nutcracker grande pas de deux

Just beautiful.


Sadness is an empty theater

My Nutcracker withdrawal this year began shortly after our final bow.

It hit even harder as I helped the tech crew take down the sets we put up what seemed like only a day before, but in reality was a little more than a week ago.

I took a couple of photos of how empty the place seemed without all the sets, the props, the dancers, the wardrobe and makeup crew, the volunteers, the parents and the crowds.

What an amazing week it was. I’ve said it before, but Nutcracker week is the one week that I get a little glimpse into what it’s like for a professional dancer. From last Saturday onward, the theater was my home until roughly about 5 this evening.

Set setup, long rehearsals, company warmups … multiple parts in multiple performances in a single day. We’ve just completed seven shows in four days. And since the school shows on Thursday and Friday were so early, I don’t know if I slept more than four hours a night until last night. Our show today wasn’t until 1, so I got to sleep in a little bit after leaving the theater at 10 last night (I was at the theater yesterday for 11 hours because of how our two Saturday shows were paced).

Performance-wise, it was an interesting week for me. One of my three roles was “bed boy,” which if you know anything about New York City Ballet’s Nutcrackers, you know there’s a poor unfortunate dancer under Clara’s (or Marie’s) bed transporting her around the stage at various times during the battle scene. They changed my path and added fog, which obscured my already limited vision.

I botched my exit because of it dress rehearsal night and for our Friday night show (nothing like flying blind as your backing off stage), but by our performances Saturday and today I was nailing the bed runs.

My favorite role, the Chinese Lion (or Dragon) went well. Got ahead of the music during the Saturday matinee performance because our wonderful orchestra (trust me that’s not sarcasm, they did a great job) for some reason slowed the music and had to make an adjustment. But my jumps got better and higher with each performance, as did my timing. I felt our last two performances were my best shows overall.

As for the party scene, I thought things went really well every performance. My very young party wife and I worked well together during our short dance, and she did a very good job staying in character the entire scene. She was a pro, and maybe the best party mom I’ve ever worked with (she took her role as “mom” seriously and was constantly fixing our “son’s” hair and making sure his little tie looked great).

There are some things I’ll never forget. I already mentioned the gift I got earlier this week. The Claras gave me a nice little red velvet cake in appreciation for my grunt work as “bed boy” during the battle scene. And I received several compliments for the multiple roles I had in the show.

Company warmups are always among my favorite things about production. Mr. and Mrs. O alternated leading them, and we do them to Christmas music. Nothing gets me more in the Christmas spirit.

Among the touching things this week was watching the company girls who are seniors in high school. It’s always an emotional week for them, but today was especially hard for a couple of them. They’re going to be going off to college and this was their last Nutcracker with the company (and maybe for good, I hope they don’t quit dancing when they go off to college, but many do).

We also had the first sold out public show that I can remember since I started performing a few years ago (the school shows are always sold out). We had the packed house for our Saturday evening show. We had great crowds all week.

And I believe we had our best performances as a company and school the last two days. Our cavalier and our two Sugar Plums were amazingly beautiful during our grand pas and coda the entire week.

There’s a lot more I could say, but I’m extremely tired. It seems the older I get, the faster the week goes, and this was the fastest I can remember.

The real world beckons tomorrow.

I’ve included a few photos of the empty theater, my Nutcracker “family” and one of us who made up the Chinese dance crew. I hope to have actual performance photos soon.ImageImageImageImage


Misty Copeland to perform in The Nutcracker alongside fans

Misty Copeland to perform in The Nutcracker alongside fans

Has to be really cool to have Misty Copeland perfom Sugar Plum in your Nutcracker