Awed at The Nutcracker

Last weekend, with much anticipation, my family and I attended the Boston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, an event for which the kids and I had been counting down the minutes until the curtain rose. We were fortunate to receive two complimentary tickets to a matinee from the Boston Ballet—though, I’ll confess, we would have gone anyway. We are big fans of The Nutcracker!

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The kids made some new friends at The Nutcracker!

When R and G saw the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker for the first time two years ago, they were five and three, respectively, and they fell in love with the show. I was uncertain then if they would connect with it since they were so young, but we read the story many times before attending and they were focused on the stage from the moment the music started.

In 2012, the Boston Ballet was celebrating the unveiling of a revamped production that featured a new stage design, new costumes, and new choreography. Two years later, those changes are still impressive and the enormous Christmas tree that graces the Boston Opera House stage is but one of the many elements that make The Nutcracker a special highlight of our Christmas season.

For R then (and again this year), the Mouse King stole the show. Hands down, the Mouse King is his favorite. He loves the battle sequence, and enjoyed acting it out for us during intermission and on our way home. He laughs big and loud when he recalls the mice trying to eat the gingerbread man and fighting the soldiers, and the King’s dramatic (but fun!) demise.

For G, it’s the sparkling dancers—especially the Snow King and Queen and their Snowflakes—clad in their beautiful costumes, twirling around and around and around, that pulled her in and made her fall in love with the stunning show again this year.

There’s a small part of me that’s still that little girl in ballet class, wondering if I would grow up to be a ballerina (I didn’t!), so the dancing—the beautiful dancing—is what I love so much. My favorite sequence is in Act II when dancers from Spain, China, France, Russia, and Arabia entertain Clara. I also love the pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince. So, so lovely.

Most of all, for me, the best part of The Nutcracker is watching my children appreciate ballet—though I did get a “Mama, why doesn’t anyone talk during this show?”—and Tchaikovsky’s lovely music. I love how R picked out Clara the moment she came on stage, and how he whispered questions and excited observations to me throughout the performance. I also love how the theatre was filled with families, including many children, and that the performance itself was graced with children, young dancers who appeared to fly and glide across the stage

The Nutcracker is a wonderful holiday tradition for our family—and one that I hope we’ll continue to enjoy over and over.

The Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is at the Boston Opera House through December 31. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased online or over the phone at 617.695.6955.

Disclosure: I received two complimentary tickets to this performance of The Nutcracker. All opinions in this post are mine alone. 

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