For me, the holidays feel real when they are bookended by tradition. For my family that means Christmas stockings, the Christmas Eve pageant at our church, and reading “The Night Before Christmas.” It also means attending the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
I’ve written about our trips to The Nutcracker before here on Red Shutters. We’ve taken R and G for the past four years—G was only three years old the first time we went! This year, we were lucky to be guests of the Boston Ballet at the dress rehearsal performance, held this afternoon, only hours before the season officially started.
The Nutcracker was everything I adore about the arts: moving and fun, beautiful and engaging, accessible and with something for everyone. The sets and costumes sparkled and enchanted; I wanted a tutu by the time the show was over! G and I loved the same part, the Arabian Dancers. We also loved the Russian Dancers, Mother Ginger, the Snowflakes, and the Sugarplum Fairies…. Okay, we loved it all! R loved the Mouse King and the battle between the Nutcracker and his soldiers and the Mouse King and the mice, of course; he hasn’t budged on his favorite part from the first time he saw the show.
As a special treat, during intermission of the dress rehearsal, many of the dancers came out to greet the small audience, which was filled with families of local bloggers like us, and participants in the Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance program. What a thrill! G had the good fortune to be swooped up and around in a hug by the dancer playing the bear in the show; she couldn’t stop talking about it.
What’s the most amazing to me, every time I see a performance like The Nutcracker is how graceful and easy the dancers make it look. I know they look like that after years of practice and dedication, and I hope my kids understand that. To be that good, you have to work hard, and the reward is so worth it for all of us in the audience.
Most of all, though, for me, I love that our family tradition is this show, and I hope my children look back and realize how meaningful attending The Nutcracker is for our family.
The Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs through December 31. If you’re looking to bring your children, matinees are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 1 PM. Seats are from $35 each; learn more at www.bostonballet.org.