Friday, December 16, 2022

We Invite You to Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy...The Nutcracker

As I reflect on a year of planning, four months of weekly rehearsals, two days of theater preparation and tech rehearsals, one dress rehearsal, and three shows (followed by three days of sorting, editing, and posting photos and writing end-of-the-season assessments)...I'm tired. 

I'm also proud. Proud of our dancers for their hard work and perseverance. Proud of our volunteers for their hard work and "can do" attitude. Proud of all those who, despite challenges, showed up day after day - with smiles on their faces - to get their jobs done. Proud we filled a massive auditorium with ballet-, theatre-, and arts-loving patrons THREE times. And proud we managed to get a show to the stage for our patrons to enjoy this holiday season. 

I've talked in the past about how this blog, while initially only an ongoing series about how we adjusted to a new way of life in a new state, has over the years become a legacy for my kids as well...a place where they can one day read about their lives. Nutcracker doesn't have a whole lot to do with adjusting to our life in a new state, but it most certainly is a part of our lives I want Hallie to remember. So here's this year's recap.


A few weeks before the actual show, we start doing outreach performances throughout the community as well as radio spots and television interviews. This year I wrote my first radio spot while Hallie was involved in most of the performances and lucky enough to be included in one of the television interviews.

The girls with the reporter...

...and with their beloved Ms. Suzanne, one of our Ballet
Brazos Artistic Directors, who joined them for the interview.

You can watch the interview here - Hallie talks and dances during the two-minute spot!


Theater week included lots of "boots on the ground" work, plus two tech rehearsals and a dress rehearsal. These two wore different Nutcracker shirts to school every single day that week to help promote the production.

Working on Front of House decorations.

Modeling the Pointe Angel headpiece as we were
trying get the right photo of it to use for Publicity.

Hallie and Savannah helped Tom fix the sleigh lights.
It was an epic late-night, last-minute, save-the-day,
talk-about-about-it-for-years-to-come moment. 

While working, Tom tried to lighten the mood (this all went down at
9:15pm on "show eve" so everyone backstage was pretty tense) by
yelling, "someone get me the Sugar Plum Fairy!" as if he needed her
help to fix the problem. Not everyone gets his sense of humor, so this
is a shoutout to Sarah-Beth, who completely understood Tom in that
moment and laughed. So thanks, Sarah-Beth. 😉


Then came the shows - one on Friday night, one on Saturday afternoon, and one on Saturday evening. The days were LONG (Friday in particular, as we arrived at 8am and left at 9:45pm), but we knew from experience that the week would be over in a heartbeat and we did our best to soak in everything Nutcracker while we could. 

This was Hallie's first year to have two roles. She was tremendously proud of this honor, and LOVED dancing in the Spanish Corps...I think you can see her joy - as well as theatricality and her Spanish flare - on her face in many of these pictures.

Here we go!

Warming up...with Kathryn Morgan (far left) and George
Sanders (front/center). (Hallie is behind George to his left.)

Hallie's bestie, Kara, was honored to play Clara this
year. I looked out onto the stage just before the overture
began on opening night and caught this beautiful moment.
Hallie was SO proud of Kara. (And Kara CRUSHED it.)

I'm not crying, you're crying.

All of the Party Girl dresses have names. Last year Hallie wore
Blueberry Muffin...this year she wore Mint Chocolate Chip.

Party Girls ready to go!

Let's Party! (Check out the photo bomber
on the far right - we love you, George!)


It's hard to say goodbye and leave the theater on Saturday night, knowing it'll be a full year before we take the stage again for Nutcracker. 

Hallie with Kathryn Morgan and George Sanders. Both are 
talented dancers, but more importantly, both are good people
who are good role models and are "fighting the good fight" to
make ballet accessible for and representative of all dancers.

Hallie with her fabulous Ballet Academy
and first company director, Ms. Christi.

Hallie's grandmas couldn't attend this year, one because
of illness and one because of a funeral. Nonny (her name
is Brenda, but we've called her Nonny since the day we met
her), who is mom to my bestie, Mandi, and grandma to
Hallie's bestie, Kara, stepped in. Hallie felt so loved and
I felt so grateful. Thank you, Nonny - we love you!

Hallie and Avery with their beloved Ballet
Academy instructors, Mr. John and Ms. Aya.

Hallie and Nina 😍

Hallie and her instructor and
choreographer for Spanish, Ms. Diane. 

Hallie and Ms. Suzanne, the founder of Hallie's
dance studio and our Ballet Brazos Artistic Director.


One of my favorite pics from the weekend!

John and Tom (with matching hair) plus Will, who
willingly took Hallie's dance bag home after the last show so
she'd have less to carry and opted to keep it on for the photo.


The reason I spend countless hours on this endeavor:


The two people I wouldn't want to do this without:


And the series y'all have (probably) been waiting for:












That's a wrap, friends. We're tired...and we're already dreaming about next year.

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