I suspect that Nutcracker season is an emotional time for any ballet dancer, whether they admit it or not.
My school just finished its run of Nut performances this weekend. Even though now I'm behind the scenes instead of on stage, I still feel post-performance letdown. The lurch from the intensity of the "thing" to... normal life... is just extreme no matter what your role in the production is. The Sugarplum Fairy was a role I danced probably more than any other in my career, so when I'm coaching young dancers in it now, I can't help but put myself in their shoes. I sometimes find my mind wandering back to very specific performances of my own while I watch my students dance. I almost feel like I'm doing it while standing still. There are just so many memories, experiences, feelings tied up in The Nutcracker, from childhood to my last year on stage, that there's no way to merely watch it..
Anyway, we are done for the year and I'm proud of u!. I choreographed a Marzipan divertissement for my level 4/5's, the Solider Doll and Ballerina Doll solos in Party Scene, a group dance for seventeen "Icicles" at the opening of Act 2, and restaged Snow Queen, Dewdrop, and yes, the Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier pas de deux, variations, and coda.
Five performances in three days is a lot for anyone, let alone a bunch of middle and high school kids who were in school all day before even arriving at the theater for a quick warmup and two back-to-back performances, two days in a row, followed by this morning's 10:00 "matinee." There was (barely) visible fatigue, but also a maturity that only comes from being onstage over and over again.
This will likely be my last newsletter of 2022. I'll be devoting the next two weeks to work on two potentially very exciting writing projects (which you might hear more about in coming months), two journalistic assignments, and with any luck, attention to a long-overdue piece whose subject matter gets more complicated every time a new Balanchine book comes out. Those are all the hints I'm going to drop for now. So if you call or knock on my door and I don't answer, it's because I'm either fixated on my computer or talking a mind-clearing walk.
I sincerely wish you all-- and your loved ones-- warmth, happiness, peace and good health this holiday season and beyond. Thank you for being my audience as I've launched "Words From Gavin" this year. May 2023 bring us all expanded horizons and beautiful adventures.