Sunday, November 29, 2015

After the show

By the looks of all the snow flying around backstage after the show, some little girls needed a release and a little FUN!

And, we got lucky and were able to get a quick photo with the professional dancers from New York!

The Nutcracker Suite

When Grace auditioned for the Nutcracker Suite back in August, we really didn't know what to expect.  The directors of her dance studio promised they would do their best to keep a balance and not make the rehearsals too intense for the girls and their families.  Now that the performance week has come, I have to say they did a pretty good job with that (compared to some other places I have heard about) but there were some long days right before and after Thanksgiving.  

Grace says she has loved being a part of her first real show.  She has benefitted from making a commitment to something, working hard, and making friends.  She has a lot of confidence and poise, which only makes us more proud of the young lady she is becoming. 

Dress Rehearsal 
The polichinelles
Grace and Annie (Sugar Plum attendant)

Grace was a polichinelle in this performance.  She also was an understudy for the  Sugar Plum attendants so she learned two dances and got to be friends with some of the girls in that group.  It was also nice to hear her talk about and show us what she observed the older girls learning.  She loved the Russian dance because of all the tumbling!

On Saturday, November 28 it was finally time for the show!  After a hair and makeup class for the parents a few weeks ago, I really improved on putting a bun in Grace's hair, but I continued to struggle with putting a lot of stage makeup on an 8-year old!

Leaving for the show

Nana and Ba brought Grace a Build-a-Bear to remember her first Nutcracker performance.  She made a perfect choice - a sparkly, white reindeer with a pink and purple tutu named "Dancer"!

Since it was the first time HCB performed the Nutcracker, they adapted the traditional story and only performed the second act.  Another unique thing was that they combined efforts with the Hudson Youth Choir who sang Christmas carols in the first act of the performance.  Being former professional dancers themselves, the HCB directors/owners were able to bring three professionals from New York to perform key roles in the show - Willie Moore (Nutcracker prince), Nick Coppula (Cavalier), and Eva Trapp (Sugar Plum Fairy). 

Before the show, I went back to the dressing room to wish Grace good luck one last time.  The girls were not in their costumes yet, and were all huddled around their tablets playing Minecraft! One of the room moms told me that the whole "back stage" atmosphere was "hurry up and wait".  The dancers need to be ready when they are called, so they are present in the dressing rooms far in advance of when they are actually going to dance. 

In the dressing room 

All the costumes were custom made for this show.  They never left the theater and they were very strict about the girls eating, coloring, etc. when wearing them.

And finally, on stage!

There were 7 songs in the second act and Grace's was the 12th!  That is a long time to wait to see her for about 2 minutes of dancing.  But it was worth it. She did a great job.  I watched her so closely that I didn't really see the other dancers.  Good thing we are going back for the matinee today. 

The polichinelles come out of Mother Ginger's skirt.  There is a metal frame underneath.  Grace said it weighs 300 pounds and they had to learn to move it together as it was wheeled out to the stage. Their director was also under it to keep it moving once all the dancers had emerged.

Grace and Angelina
Here are a couple of photos taken by the professional photographer hired for the show. 

The performers came out the greet their guests after the show was over.  Grace seemed energized by the whole thing and we were happy to be there to support her. 

Grace and Kate (Clara)

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Nutcracker weekend and...

Nana and Ba are in Ohio!

Between Grace's rehearsals we went to the Akron Children's Holiday Tree Festival where Grace visited with Santa.  She told him she wants a Hot Wheels track and science kits.  What a cool kid!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mother Ginger's skirt

Grace is a polichinelle in the Nutcracker Suite.  She and her fellow dancers are going to emerge from this big skirt in the performance next weekend.  It is exciting to see the costumes and sets start to appear at the dance studio!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Billy was here

Grace got to play on a Steinway & sons grand piano that Billy Joel played.  How cool is that!?!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

In the treetops

Holden Arboretum is one of the largest botanical gardens in the country, with over 3,600 acres of woods, gardens, and trails.  We had never been there before, even though it is less than an hour away from where we live.  This September, they opened a new canopy walk and viewing tower and today was the last day it was open for the season.

The 500-foot elevated walkway consists of a series of three suspension bridges that are 65-feet above the forest ground.  Along the walk there are signs about the trees and animals you see.  You can even dial a phone number on your smart phone and listen to a guided tour as you walk.

We got there early enough that it wasn't too crowded and we had plenty of time to admire the beautiful fall leaves.

Then we walked along the park trails to the Emergent Tower, which has 202 steps to the top observation deck that is above the tree line.

After climbing the steps we "emerged" 120 feet in the air!  It was truly a bird's eye view and since it was a clear day we could see Lake Erie in the distance.

At first, Grace didn't love it up at the top.  It was windy that high and the tower swayed a little.  She wanted to go back down to a lower observation deck.  We did that for a few minutes and then Grace asked to go back up again.  She was much better the second time.

The trees were really pretty but we are about a week beyond the peak fall color.

I was fascinated with what all this looks like from just above the tops of the trees.