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Im a bad ballet Mom


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That's just . . . sad to think about.

 

It's because they have to do it year after year after year.  Usually the same choreography, the same roles, the same everything.  It gets boring.  Every dancer in a company can dance every part in that darn thing.  It becomes very routine and very redundant.  There isn't anything particularly challenging about Nutcracker, and it really isn't a stretch for any dancer. 

 

However, it is the bread and butter of most ballet companies, and so there is no choice.  For some people, it's the only ballet they will see in their entire lives.  The typical audience is not one who supports the company for any of their other performances during the year, and they are mostly uneducated about ballet, and this performance is comfortable for them.

 

Then you have the fact that most professional ballet companies will have auditions for the children's roles.  And while companies have a love/hate relationship with that as well, it sells tickets.  Little Suzy's parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their friends and neighbors will all buy tickets to see her march around as a blue soldier.  Probably multiple tickets for multiple shows.  You cannot reject that kind of box office.  It's pure gold.

 

And that is why American companies perform Nutcracker every year.  For the money.  Merry Christmas!! :D

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It's because they have to do it year after year after year.  Usually the same choreography, the same roles, the same everything.  It gets boring.  Every dancer in a company can dance every part in that darn thing.  It becomes very routine and very redundant.  There isn't anything particularly challenging about Nutcracker, and it really isn't a stretch for any dancer. 

 

However, it is the bread and butter of most ballet companies, and so there is no choice.  For some people, it's the only ballet they will see in their entire lives.  The typical audience is not one who supports the company for any of their other performances during the year, and they are mostly uneducated about ballet, and this performance is comfortable for them.

 

Then you have the fact that most professional ballet companies will have auditions for the children's roles.  And while companies have a love/hate relationship with that as well, it sells tickets.  Little Suzy's parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their friends and neighbors will all buy tickets to see her march around as a blue soldier.  Probably multiple tickets for multiple shows.  You cannot reject that kind of box office.  It's pure gold.

 

And that is why American companies perform Nutcracker every year.  For the money.  Merry Christmas!! :D

 

Oh, I know all of this. My son danced with a pre-pro school beginning at age six and did Nutcracker for six years. I spent more hours supervising dressing rooms during the holiday season than I spent at home for a few weeks each year. 

 

I also worked at Walt Disney World for three years, a job I didn't always love. But I knew that, for many of the guests I interacted with, this was their first or only trip to a place they wanted to experience as magical. And I consistently found that, if I set aside my own irritation at the low pay and the tedium and the heat and the uncomfortable costumes, some of their magical experiences rubbed off on me, too. My days passed more pleasantly, and I went home in a better mood than I was in when I arrived at work if I allowed myself to see the day through my guests' eyes.

 

Similarly, I am aware that Nutcracker is the first experience that many people have with ballet, and for those who might be interested in learning more, it can be the "gateway drug." Children may fall in love with ballet because of The Nutcracker. It's a special tradition that many families share every holiday season. 

 

To those people, The Nutcracker isn't a boring, routine drag, but a big deal. 

 

One of my son's ballet teachers always used to tell her students that, no matter how tired they were that day, regardless of whether they were on their second show that day or their fifth that week, they had to remember that there was a little old lady in the very back row of the balcony who could only afford to buy the $10 ticket who had been looking forward to this show for weeks and who deserved the very best show they could give her. The kids were supposed to remember the little old lady was out there and dance their hearts out for her.

 

I guess I don't really understand wanting to be a professional performer if one doesn't enjoy doing that.

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Oh, I know all of this. My son danced with a pre-pro school beginning at age six and did Nutcracker for six years. I spent more hours supervising dressing rooms during the holiday season than I spent at home for a few weeks each year.

 

I also worked at Walt Disney World for three years, a job I didn't always love. But I knew that, for many of the guests I interacted with, this was their first or only trip to a place they wanted to experience as magical. And I consistently found that, if I set aside my own irritation at the low pay and the tedium and the heat and the uncomfortable costumes, some of their magical experiences rubbed off on me, too. My days passed more pleasantly, and I went home in a better mood than I was in when I arrived at work if I allowed myself to see the day through my guests' eyes.

 

Similarly, I am aware that Nutcracker is the first experience that many people have with ballet, and for those who might be interested in learning more, it can be the "gateway drug." Children may fall in love with ballet because of The Nutcracker. It's a special tradition that many families share every holiday season.

 

To those people, The Nutcracker isn't a boring, routine drag, but a big deal.

 

One of my son's ballet teachers always used to tell her students that, no matter how tired they were that day, regardless of whether they were on their second show that day or their fifth that week, they had to remember that there was a little old lady in the very back row of the balcony who could only afford to buy the $10 ticket who had been looking forward to this show for weeks and who deserved the very best show they could give her. The kids were supposed to remember the little old lady was out there and dance their hearts out for her.

 

I guess I don't really understand wanting to be a professional performer if one doesn't enjoy doing that.

When dd9 took a class taught by a cast member of the traveling production of Wicked, this is exactly what he told the class. He has to remember that no matter how many times he has performed the show, for most of the audience, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and he owes them his best.

 

No Nutcracker for us this year. Dd9 is determined never to do ballet again. Dd6 is too young for the kids cast of the professional Nutcracker, and the local student production is not a good idea because of some ugly studio politics. I'm going to enjoy the break while it lasts.

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Dd spent 30 minutes analyzing which roles might go to which company members this year, and which roles various apprentice company members might get. She is hoping for Snow corps for one role. She would be beside herself to get either of two other roles (her "dream roles"). I'm not even allowed to tell her father or her older sister what those are :rolleyes:

 

We'll see in a week or so...

 

As for me, this will be my 13th Nutcracker season. Thirteen down, three to go.

 

:lol:

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Oh, I know all of this. My son danced with a pre-pro school beginning at age six and did Nutcracker for six years. I spent more hours supervising dressing rooms during the holiday season than I spent at home for a few weeks each year. 

 

I also worked at Walt Disney World for three years, a job I didn't always love. But I knew that, for many of the guests I interacted with, this was their first or only trip to a place they wanted to experience as magical. And I consistently found that, if I set aside my own irritation at the low pay and the tedium and the heat and the uncomfortable costumes, some of their magical experiences rubbed off on me, too. My days passed more pleasantly, and I went home in a better mood than I was in when I arrived at work if I allowed myself to see the day through my guests' eyes.

 

Similarly, I am aware that Nutcracker is the first experience that many people have with ballet, and for those who might be interested in learning more, it can be the "gateway drug." Children may fall in love with ballet because of The Nutcracker. It's a special tradition that many families share every holiday season. 

 

To those people, The Nutcracker isn't a boring, routine drag, but a big deal. 

 

One of my son's ballet teachers always used to tell her students that, no matter how tired they were that day, regardless of whether they were on their second show that day or their fifth that week, they had to remember that there was a little old lady in the very back row of the balcony who could only afford to buy the $10 ticket who had been looking forward to this show for weeks and who deserved the very best show they could give her. The kids were supposed to remember the little old lady was out there and dance their hearts out for her.

 

I guess I don't really understand wanting to be a professional performer if one doesn't enjoy doing that.

 

Oh, absolutely!  And the professional dancers will give the audience the best show they can possibly give them.  As any professional in the entertainment industry should do...if they want to stay employed.  It's just that they would rather be dancing something else.  Particularly on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  That's hard, but if they want to be performers, they'll pay the price.  With a smile on their face.

 

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auditions were today here.

 

much excitement, and some dread.

 

there is some possibility that dd#3 might get sugarplum, and dd#4 might get clara.  

we had a discussion afterwards about how its more likely one of them will and one of them won't, due as much to managing a ballet company and keeping parents happy as to anything else.

 

as dd#3 was cinderella for last year's production, i have quietly crossed my fingers for dd#4 to have a chance at the spotlight.

(dd#3 said the same to me, so there's a blessing)

 

time will tell....

 

eta: we still love nutcracker, 14 years into it..... except snow.  for some reason i can no longer abide the music for snow.  who knows why?

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And if you are a pianist, there are performances just like this. Money only, draws in a larger crowd, do it every year, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring...try not to fall asleep while at the piano.

 

UGH!

 

Then again, I shouldn't complain. I wasn't in the cast of CATS. Some of those poor dancers were in that show FOREVAH! I would lose my ever lovin' mind! LOL

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I have grown to hate it as well. But, tickets for Nutcracker cover the production of other ballets so I guess it is worth it.

 

But I wish I could tell all those people who only ever see Nutcracker to PLEASE go see other ballets. If your local company or visiting company puts on a good Nutcracker, there is a good chance it does a great job with Swan Lake or Giselle or even (gasp) a modern ballet. Last year, our company put on Giselle, with professional dancers in the lead rolls and it was so amazing. I was just stunned by how good it was....as I sat there in a mostly empty theater.

 

I was laughing last year because I volunteered backstage the entire time and the other parents kept asking me, "but when are you going to go sit in the audience and just watch the show?"  Oh my god, the LAST thing I want to do at this point is watch that bloody ballet. And I haven't even been doing it as long as some of them have. Please, give me a job and keep me busy!

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Last year was The. Nutcracker. I'm not sure what this year will be but it rotates so I have several years before they perform it again but dd is begging to go see it at Christmas. She's only 7 so maybe she'll lose interest? If I had never taken her in the first place I could just attend basketball and soccer games which are my comfort zone. But nooooo, I had to be nice mommy. No good deed goes unpunished.

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This will be our sixth Nutcracker. I'm not tired of watching it yet, because I always just focus on what my kids are doing on stage. I miss a lot of the big picture, because I'm only watching one or two people at once. I really despise working in the dressing rooms, though. We're required to volunteer in either the lobby or back stage for a certain number of shifts.

 

There are a couple of families at our studio who have thirteen year old girls AND one-year-old daughters. If their younger ones end up going all the way through till age 18 in the Nutcracker, these parents are doomed to be involved for about twenty-five years. We do have a couple of ladies who have been involved for over twenty years, since the beginning of our student company. I love that my kids love ballet, but I didn't realize that signing them up to do it meant signing myself up to do it as well.

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And one of my most favorite things when dd became a professional ballerina (well, besides the pointe shoe allowance, because that was my MOST favorite thing)....I don't have to be backstage at another Nutcracker performance EVER!!! :hurray:   Although we did luck out when she was a child performer with a professional company...union rules forbid parents from being backstage, and you were definitely not allowed to dress your child (or even touch the costume), or help with their make-up or hair.  I much preferred that to a ballet school performance, where you had to do everything.  For days on end, with no food or sleep.  *shudder*  

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This will be our sixth Nutcracker. I'm not tired of watching it yet, because I always just focus on what my kids are doing on stage. I miss a lot of the big picture, because I'm only watching one or two people at once. I really despise working in the dressing rooms, though. We're required to volunteer in either the lobby or back stage for a certain number of shifts.

 

There are a couple of families at our studio who have thirteen year old girls AND one-year-old daughters. If their younger ones end up going all the way through till age 18 in the Nutcracker, these parents are doomed to be involved for about twenty-five years. We do have a couple of ladies who have been involved for over twenty years, since the beginning of our student company. I love that my kids love ballet, but I didn't realize that signing them up to do it meant signing myself up to do it as well.

 

 

Yeah, I can't stand the volunteering part either.  At our studio, aside from being a dressing room mom (shudder!), there are other jobs to volunteer for such as transporting costumes and props back and forth from the studio to the theatre, proofreading the playbill, fundraising/promotions, etc.  I am seriously on red alert for the volunteering sign-ups to be posted, so I don't get stuck with something awful.  

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I have to say that I simply adore Nutcracker, the season the music, the excitement...although this is only our 7th year. DD 12 loves it too. 

This year she made the student company and was thrilled to be cast as Garland (the younger Flowers who are not yet on point). They just had their first rehearsal, full cast list comes out this week and she is anxious to see what else she is cast as. 

 

I love all productions but Nut is my fave.

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I didn't mind the Nutcracker when DD was 7-9.  Then, she would just have one or two parts and would only be expected to dance in two shows.  It was kind of pleasant and fun.  But now that she has numerous roles and has to dance in all of the shows, it is a lot!!  I already warned her that this year, I will not be hanging around the theatre for all of her shows.  We will watch her dance in one show and after that, I will be dropping her off for her performances.  

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This is my daughter's sixth nutcracker and my foster son's first. Cast list comes out tomorrow....

The nutcracker is kind of unappealing musically and choreographed very similar each year... Yet, it is such a delight to kids and families in our town, so it's hard to dislike it too much.

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I wish I hadn't read this thread. The Nutcracker is magical to us, especially the music, and something we specifically try to see every every 3-4 years. We have very, very little time outside of our activities for performing arts, but I squeeze them in as much as possible, and the Nutcracker is a timeless classic, IMO. That's sad to me that it's such a downer to the performers/parents, though I semi-understand why. 

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I wish I hadn't read this thread. The Nutcracker is magical to us, especially the music, and something we specifically try to see every every 3-4 years. We have very, very little time outside of our activities for performing arts, but I squeeze them in as much as possible, and the Nutcracker is a timeless classic, IMO. That's sad to me that it's such a downer to the performers/parents, though I semi-understand why. 

 

I would like it if I saw it every 3-4 years as well. It is the fact that for the past 5 years I have seen prob 25 performances that makes it a little old, lol.

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This is ds's first. They rarely invite kids below age 9 to participate. He's over the moon. But every year from here on, he'll have the opportunity to do it, so I'll let you know how I feel in a few years. ;)

Farrar, does he dance with the The National Ballet? We usually see that Nutcracker, but are going to the Kennedy Center one this year...

 

I am one of those people who loves seeing the Nutcracker- and yes, for now- it's the only ballet tickets we ever buy.

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I wish I hadn't read this thread. The Nutcracker is magical to us, especially the music, and something we specifically try to see every every 3-4 years. We have very, very little time outside of our activities for performing arts, but I squeeze them in as much as possible, and the Nutcracker is a timeless classic, IMO. That's sad to me that it's such a downer to the performers/parents, though I semi-understand why. 

 

Yes, this is exactly the point I was trying to make.

 

It's sad to me, too.

 

One of the rules I learned when I worked for The Mouse is that cast members are always supposed to "preserve the magical experience." That means that, if we can manage it, guests should never see or hear anything that interferes with their enjoyment of their time. And if something does go wrong, cast members are to do their very best to "recover" the situation.

 

My daughter learned similar standards working for a smaller resort.

 

Coming from that background, I actually find the publicly-expressed negativity in this thread a little shocking and genuinely upsetting.

 

Magnificent-baby, please know that not every dancer dislikes or resents performing The Nutcracker for your family. Some feel privileged and happy to have the opportunity to create magic for you.

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I would like it if I saw it every 3-4 years as well. It is the fact that for the past 5 years I have seen prob 25 performances that makes it a little old, lol.

 

Umm, I saw about half that many performances in one year of the six my son danced the show. (That was the year he was in every performance, including the ones out of town.) I still think it's magical, because I look at the faces in the audience.

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It's just that they would rather be dancing something else.  Particularly on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  That's hard, but if they want to be performers, they'll pay the price.  With a smile on their face.

 

 

Maybe my kids are just anomalies, then, because whether it's a holiday or not, there's usually nothing they'd rather be doing than performing. 

 

Both have rehearsed and performed on their own birthdays and those of family and friends and have missed parties and events for years because of their theatre and dance commitments. Last year, my son competed and performed on Thanksgiving day and the rest of the weekend. My daughter worked Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. (She was, at the time, a theme park performer.) My husband was less than thrilled about the intrusions into the family holiday time, but neither of the kids minded at all. 

 

They don't even really consider it a price they have to pay, because they would rather be performing than doing pretty much anything else, anyway. So, that may skew my perception of this conversation.

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My son has been in four student productions of The Nutcracker, and had a tiny (like, onstage for 30 seconds) part once in a professional Nutcracker. He still loves the show and we do too. Every year he starts talking in the summer about what part he's going to have. He goes to a ballet school that isn't attached to a professional company. Every year they put on a fall show, an abridged "Nutcracker in One Act" at Christmas and a spring show. The director is amazing and has put on many original shows. They're all amazing, but for some reason Squirrelboy always gets most excited about Nutcracker. I still enjoy it every year, in part because what he does changes a bit every year, even if he has the same role.

 

Kittygirl is already talking about the day she gets to be a Honey Fairy (she'll have to wait until she's five).

 

My only regret is that Squirrelboy is always so busy with his studio's Nutcracker in December that he's never had time to attend a professional Nutcracker. That said, there is no Nutcracker hatred in this ballet family, so don't despair Nutcracker fans :). I can totally see why some people would get tired of doing it year after year, however.

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Farrar, does he dance with the The National Ballet? We usually see that Nutcracker, but are going to the Kennedy Center one this year...

 

I am one of those people who loves seeing the Nutcracker- and yes, for now- it's the only ballet tickets we ever buy.

No, he dances at MYB. He has a number of friends in the Kennedy Center's Ballet West one, but we wouldn't let him go out for it because there were too many schedule conflicts for the rest of us if he'd gotten in. TWB does let much younger kids do theirs. MYB's is really traditional by comparison, but I live the TWB's slightly different local take on the show. More places should give the Nutcracker a little tweak like that.

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For the record, I do love the Nutcracker. It is endlessly magical to me. But the backstage work stresses me out. I volunteer heavily with our ballet company pre-production as well, and although parts of my job are very rewarding for me, a good amount is stressful as well.

 

Having children in the Nutcracker is a huge commitment for our family, and it definitely requires some sacrifices. I think it's okay to vent a bit sometimes to other ballet moms who understand, and it does not take any of the magic away from my children's experience as performers or the audience enjoyment. It is hard sometimes, and it's okay to seek support from others.

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It's pretty easy to love Nutcracker when you watch for a couple of hours once a year. :) It's entirely different when it starts in September and doesn't end until the third week of December.  It can be a slog for parents.

 

 

Yep, except our auditions were in August, so it goes on even longer at our studio.  

 

DD loves, loves, loves it.  She hasn't lost the joy for it.  As a parent, I find it much less enjoyable.   :ph34r:

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It's pretty easy to love Nutcracker when you watch for a couple of hours once a year. :) It's entirely different when it starts in September and doesn't end until the third week of December.  It can be a slog for parents.

 

Again, my family must just be weird, because I did the Nutcracker parent thing for six years and still loved it. I was backstage mom (in the boys' dressing room, no less) for many/most of the performances and still loved it. We gave up holiday parties and church events -- and rescheduled celebrations of my daughter's mid-December birthday -- so that my son could go to rehearsals (yes, starting in September) and performances. In a few years, Nutcracker overlapped with rehearsals and performances for other company productions in which my son had been cast. So, it's not like I don't get it. I really, really do. 

 

I loved it anyway, and I find myself nostalgic about it every year. And it's not because I was a huge ballet lover. In fact, I knew precious little about ballet before my son started dancing. I just knew then and remember now how special those experiences were for my son and how exciting it was to play my own small, insignificant part in making that production available to the community.

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Having children in the Nutcracker is a huge commitment for our family, and it definitely requires some sacrifices. I think it's okay to vent a bit sometimes to other ballet moms who understand, and it does not take any of the magic away from my children's experience as performers or the audience enjoyment. It is hard sometimes, and it's okay to seek support from others.

 

And I would agree with you if this conversation had happened in private.

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No, he dances at MYB. He has a number of friends in the Kennedy Center's Ballet West one, but we wouldn't let him go out for it because there were too many schedule conflicts for the rest of us if he'd gotten in. TWB does let much younger kids do theirs. MYB's is really traditional by comparison, but I live the TWB's slightly different local take on the show. More places should give the Nutcracker a little tweak like that.

 

Oh good! I am very excited to see it- our seats are up on the 2nd tier, so I hope we can see well :)

 

We are going to eat at Le Diplomate afterwards, have you eaten there, by chance?

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I am a worse ballet mom because my dd would love to try out but most of the rehearsals are on Sunday and that is not something we do.  This will  keep her out of the traveling company and off the competition team as well.  We love going to the Nutcracker every year.  By "we" I mean my dds & I; ds has to be bribed.   Some things are the same (the music; the costumes) but some things are different.  One year there were little baby ballerinas dressed as pink poodles.  It was darling.  Some years there are more rats than soldiers.  Some years there are not enough male dancers and the prince dances extra dances.  Our local professional company opens their final dress rehearsal to schools & homeschoolers.  It is fantastic and crazy.  Sometimes there are wardrobe malfunctions.  Sometimes the snow gets away from the dancers and there is a blizzard on stage that blows into the orchestra pit.  Sometimes the tree gets stuck.  Once the giant Nutcracker head got stuck on the prince's head. Once the Sugar Plum Fairy was injured and wore a boot for part of the performance and then we saw the other cast Sugar Plum Fairy.  Once the toy nutcracker fell over and clonked the sleeping Clara on the head.  We applaud just as hard as we can because you know what they say about a bad dress rehearsal....

 

For you ballet parents who get tired of the Nutcracker, thank you for your hard work.  To the performers; may you find joy in bringing enjoyment to others.

 

Amber in SJ

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Oh good! I am very excited to see it- our seats are up on the 2nd tier, so I hope we can see well :)

 

We are going to eat at Le Diplomate afterwards, have you eaten there, by chance?

I haven't. I don't know Foggy Bottom at all hardly, though we did a Kennedy Ctr student performances group this year so I suppose we'll be there a little more because we have tickets to see a bunch of stuff.

 

I'm sure it'll be great though. Ds's teacher was raving about what a great Nutcracker Ballet West does.

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I haven't. I don't know Foggy Bottom at all hardly, though we did a Kennedy Ctr student performances group this year so I suppose we'll be there a little more because we have tickets to see a bunch of stuff.

 

I'm sure it'll be great though. Ds's teacher was raving about what a great Nutcracker Ballet West does.

 

We are seeing some KC performances too! An opera (La Boheme) look in, a National Symphony Orchestra one, and some kind of Jazz/Blues thing....

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OK - funny Nutcracker story!!  When I was right out of college I went home to live for a little while before I headed to grad school.  Turned out the producer for a US Tour of the Nutcracker performed by a Russian ballet company lived in our town. I got a job working with him that winter...what an eye opener!!  I think we had 40 dancers and 40 in the orchestra.  He took the shows to cities up and down the East Coast.  He tied in with local ballet schools so that their kids would be in the show and the parents would buy lots of tickets!  I ended up having to go on the road for a few cities and run the show...dealing with real prima ballerinas in their long mink coats and trying to make sure the orchestra didn't hit the hotel bar too early!  Ordering fast food for 80 hungry Russians on a bus...a life experience I will never, ever forget!! 

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