Last night was my beautiful sister Olivia’s last time dancing in The Nutcracker at Clytie Adams Ballet. I remember the sick, sad feeling that accompanies that very well. The girls were all backstage crying and hugging and getting pictures. It really was a sight to behold. Before the last performance, Clytie (the school’s owner and founder and director and everything) made a speech (like she does before each show). At the end she said, “One of my former dancers came up to me after an earlier performance and said, ‘Oh, I miss dancing.’ And I thought…well that never really goes away.” She was talking about my sweet littlest sister Bethany who had found her after the show to say hi.
Clytie was right, you never get over that feeling of missing dancing. I’ve been done for about 4 years, and every day I miss it.
The other day I had the chance to interview Adam Sklute, the artistic director at Ballet West, for BYU Radio. (I was fan-girling pretty hard, PS). At the end of the interview, I asked him a question that I hadn’t written down or prepped him for. I asked, “If you could write a love note to The Nutcracker, what would it say?” He was a little surprised, but then started into a beautiful monologue about The Nutcracker and what it has meant to him (you’ll have to listen to hear the whole thing). It got me thinking though, I wanted to write my own letter to The Nutcracker. For myself, and other dancers who have been touched by this show.
Thank you for giving every November of my life color, brilliance, and beauty. From the music, to the costumes, to the props, to the hours of “Ride that Pony” that can be heard from where the little kids are held, to the long car rides and Nelson’s Frozen Custard after the show, you have been a pure delight.
I have the steps and music memorized. I can’t help but dance in my seat a bit when I watch because I know every move, the counting, and the rhythm, better than I know almost anything.
Nutcracker, I miss you. I miss the anticipation in the wings just before stepping on stage. I miss the long hallways and dressing rooms that always smelled like hairspray. I miss the feeling of being laced into a tutu a little too tight. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have a dull ache in my heart, and an itch in my feet for dancing.
Thank you for giving me so many memories, so many nights of laughter and tears, so many days of sore feet and muscles, and so many pairs of ruined pointe shoes from the hard stage floor. Thank you for giving me the thrill of being out of breath after finishing a show, and hearing thunderous applause.
Nutcracker, words can’t really express what you’ve meant to me over my life. And I think every November I’ll feel a bit nostalgic and want to come home to you. Thank you for being my home.
All my love,