Sunday, November 29, 2015

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)

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