Monday, December 23, 2013

The Nutcracker

When I was a kid my mom told me that when she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina so she began walking everywhere on her toes. I immediately began doing the same thing. Neither of us became ballerinas, but when I asked her if she wanted to see The Nutcracker this year for Christmas, she excitedly said yes.
This was my first live ballet, and I was very impressed. I was familiar with the story and the music, but I was astonished by the beautiful scenery and the gorgeous costumes. The beginning Christmas scene where a scrim of an outdoor scene is lit to reveal the grand interior decorated with an enormous tree was impressive, but it didn’t stop there. I especially loved the snowfall which was assisted by the dancers who came
in tossing snow in the air as they leaped. The audience seemed most impressed with the dance couple who had several elaborate sequences toward the end of the show, but I loved the doll dancer whose every movement seemed mechanical down to the way she blinked. I understand why people go to see The Nutcracker year after year and why they are willing to pay so much money to do so. I would definitely go back.
RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “Captain Tintop”, Jump Jump and the Ice Queen “The Spirit of Christmas”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon “Rescuing Santa Claus”
MOVIE: I didn't watch The Year Without a Christmas when I was a kid, so a few years ago I made up for lost time, and now I try to see it each year. If you like Rudolph and/or stop-motion animation, you will enjoy this movie. Santa is voiced by Mickey Rooney, one of my favorite actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and this movie features the famous Snow Miser and Heat Miser, the brothers who control the weather in the north and the south areas of the world. They have cute complementary song and dance numbers with hilarious little minion backup dancers. 
SONG: “The Last Christmas” by Sixpence None the Richer 
No, I am not trying to tell anyone anything, but this is a beautiful song that I heard for the first time last year. I love Leah Nash’s voice; it is very unique and every time I hear her I smile.
GIFT MEMORY: My uncle Bill was in the army for years, so he and his family moved a lot. They didn’t come into town for Christmas very often, but when they did it was a treat. My cousin Matt is a year younger than me and his sister Addison is a few years younger than my sister, so we always had a great time together. I always associate our earliest Christmases together with a wooden train set that Matt had. I don’t know if he received it as a gift and that is why we got to play with it together or if he brought it with him, but I loved it. We would spend hours setting up an elaborate track all over the family room, getting into as many peoples’ way as possible. Then we would put the train on the track and push it as fast as we could, often with derailments as the product of our energy. We’d take it apart and rebuild it again, making as many curves as possible with the amount of track we had. It never got old.

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