Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nutty Nutcracker

You probably remember that in June Grace was offered a place in the Ballet Theatre of Ohio dance company. Each year for 24 years (this is 25!) they have been performing the "Nutcracker" at this time of the year. 

Grace was cast in two roles - one of Clara's friends in the Act 1 party scene and a Russian dancer in Act 2. She and the other dancers have been putting in numerous hours for rehearsals since October to prepare for the performances that started this weekend. 

One of the amazing things about BTO's show is that the dancers perform at the Akron Civic Theater, an historic venue that was built in 1929.  It is one of the prettiest theaters I have ever seen and one of only 16 like it left in the United States.  When you are inside, the ceiling really looks like the night sky.

As a parent volunteer, I had the opportunity to be on the stage steaming Mother Ginger's dress - 

- and backstage where I got to see how a production with over 100 dancers is produced.  Part of that was seeing the seamstresses working on 190 costumes, wigs, shoes, etc.

The first day we arrived at the Civic for rehearsal, Grace said, "I have been here to see the shows, but I am so excited that I get to dance on that stage!" So cute and it makes all the effort to get her to dance class worth it. 

The Russian/party girls (ha!) share a dressing room. There are 16 of them in a room built for 1/2 that number.  So, this is what it ended up looking like. 

Costume fittings go from this...

...and this.... this!

Anna, Grace, Allison 

It was really fun to watch how close the girls get since they spend so much time together during the days leading up to the performances. 

Grace and Quinn Prado 
Grace looked beautiful in both of her costumes but I loved the girly curls for the traditional party scene. 

The Russian dance a fast-paced, acrobatic performance in Act 2. That is the costume the girls wear at the end of the show.  They are allowed to come out to the audience to greet guests and sign autographs. 

We have another week of rehearsals (3:00-10:00pm!) and another weekend of shows to go!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Tween Halloween

Huh!  I like that title!  It perfectly describes the "in between" phase we are in right now... not quite a kid and not really a teenager.

I volunteered to chaperone the Lakeview Intermediate School Halloween "shindig" last night which was....interesting.... Lots of "tweens" not really sure what to do with themselves. I can see why they don't call it a dance. Despite having a DJ, very few students were dancing. They were hanging out talking, taking selfies, and going up and down the inflatables (see? little kid stuff).  I was happy to see Grace in her element, though.  Her teachers say she has a lot of friends, is always participating, and is kind to everyone.  That makes me proud!

With Kylie Barth 
With Sara Sibit

Grace and Kyle managed to get their pumpkins designed and carved right before Trick-or-Treat night in Stow.  They turned out cute. I love how our "tween" decided what she wanted hers to look like.

And then Grace, Jacob, and Jamir went out to Trick-or-Treat together.  Jill took them bowling earlier in the day and the three of them had a mustache-wearing contest.

Jacob gave up first. Jamir has his on under the mask...I know.  I kept checking. They wore it through the night but Grace was relieved to take hers off as soon as we separated from the boys to walk home.  That girl has a strong will!

And, this last photo is just to remind us how beautiful fall is in Ohio. It was even prettier than this! I am so grateful to have this path in our backyard.

As my UVA friends say... Happy Fall, Y'all!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What's been going on?

As always, life is busy around these parts. Do you remember that old Dunkin Donuts commercial where the man gets up when it is dark, every day, over and over, and goes in to make the donuts? That's how it feels sometimes.  Add in night work events and piano and dance for Grace and you have a little better picture of what our daily life is like. We cherish the few, short moments we get together with no obligations....but then one or more of us will probably fall asleep!

So, here is a cell phone update of what has been going on.

Ballet Theatre of Ohio (now, affectionately called "BTO") held a photo shoot for the company dancers who will be performing in "The Nutrcracker". The headshots are for the program and the group photos they took will be for publicity.

Sassy.  10 going on 16.

This was my favorite part.  They had her pose several different ways. I wonder which one they will choose!

Then, the next weekend Grace participated in a Stranger Danger/Self Defense class at a karate school in the town where I work. 

It was phenomenal.  The kids learned how to get away if someone grabs your arm and what to do if someone tries to pick you up or you end up down on the ground.  KICK, KICK, KICK their knees!

Grace's Halloween costume made its debut for a party last Saturday night.  She is a (really pretty) mummy!

For career day at school Grace decided she wanted to be a veterinarian.  I think this is a great choice for her.  (I can also see her being a nurse since she is so caring.) She had a vision of what she wanted to wear - a blue v-neck shirt.  We couldn't find scrubs in her size but I did find a shirt to meet the specific guidelines.  Not photos...but here is her ID badge.  She was very proud of it and said all the kids knew right away from the badge and stethoscope what she was.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall tradition

It is amazing how nice the fall weather is in Ohio.  September and October are beautiful  This year, it has been so warm that we are still wearing shorts and flip flops.

We went to get our pumpkins at Szalay's Farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is a great place to go for so many different varieties of pumpkins, fall decorations, food stands, and a farmer's market. The also have a corn maze and a fun house.  It is perfect for a family outing which is why going there has become a family tradition.

Friday, October 13, 2017

En Pointe

On Sunday, October 8 Grace went to Stage Center, a dance store in Akron to get her first pair of pointe shoes.  This is a BIG deal if you are a dancer.  Chris Meneer, the director her Grace's dance studio arranged for the girls getting their shoes to arrive every 30 minutes so they could each have some time with a store employee who would fit them for their shoes.

They carry about 20 different kinds of pointe shoes that range in price from $70-130 each.  After looking at the dancer's feet and telling her about the different parts of the shoe, they start trying them on to see what feels best.

When they have a pair on they go to the barre where Mrs. Meneer looked at them for the perfect fit.  It was interesting how she could see what was working and not working and then made suggestions for a harder or softer shaft, a different toe box, etc.

Grace tried on 6-8 different pairs but she came back to her 2nd pair as the ones she liked best. They ended up being Bloch, "Hannah", in a size 4.

She looked beautiful and so proud!