Since my nearly 4-year-old daughter is taking ballet and wears mainly tutus these days, I couldn’t resist getting tickets to our local production of The Nutcracker. I’d like to tell you we dressed her up for the occasion, but this is pretty much a typical day around here.
When I was growing up in Connecticut, my mom used to take me into Manhattan to see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, and it was a big deal. I loved the music, the dancing and the pageantry – especially the Christmas tree that magically grew on stage — and I was really excited to share our tradition with my own daughter.
Before the show started, we took Viv down to the orchestra pit to see the musicians tuning up. See kid, not all music comes from mom’s iPod!
Once the ballet began, she had a lot of questions:
“What is that boy doing to the nutcracker?”
“When is the tree going to grow?”
“I want to meet Clara. Will she come down off the stage?”
“Can we go see the musicians again right now?”
That’s when I realized, ballet is great for kids because there’s no dialogue to talk over.
There was a point where the Snow Queen came out twirling in a gorgeous white gown and Viv was utterly mesmerized. I totally teared up watching her, the same way I did when she choreographed her first dance to “Let it Go” in our living room. They move me, these milestones that mark my baby growing into a girl. Hold me closer, tiny dancer.
During intermission, she easily talked me into buying her this tiara.
Which, five mintues later, was discarded into my purse for “making my head hurt.” I resisted telling her that you have to suffer for beauty.
Viv got a little squirmy during the second act, with a couple of tense moments where Dave and I wondered whether it was possible to make a break for it, and if we had time to carry her out over the heads of a dozen seated ticketholders during the applause between dances. But she made it through with a little help from our friend gummy bears.
I’m always worried that we’re watching too much TV and other junk (like straight to video Little Mermaid sequels) at home, so I was thrilled to give Viv a traditional live theater experience.
Of course, after the show, she told me, “I really liked that movie, mama.”
We’ll work on it.