One of my personal holiday traditions I treasured for most of my life was dancing in the ballet, The Nutcracker. It just wasn’t Christmas time for me if I wasn’t hustling at a theatre to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. Of the hundreds of performances I participated in, nearly all of them were performed without so much as an un-choreographed hiccup. Except for my final performance, that performance definitely went down in the books as interesting.
While dancing professionally for a ballet company is Colorado, I danced in the Snow Flake ensemble. If you’ve never seen The Nutcracker, there is a beautiful scene of a dozen (or more depending on the production) ballerinas dancing in perfect unison while wearing romantic (long) tutus. Artificial snow sprinkles from the theatre rafters as artificial fog rolls delicately through the stage. It’s visually pretty stunning and a crowd pleaser 110% of the time.
At this point in my career I had performed the snow scene more than a hundred times in various professional productions. I had never had any technical difficulties. But my final performance in Colorado apparently was the exception to the rule. I guess I needed to end my performing career with some humor and a good story to tell. The fog machine malfunctioned. In addition to the standard fog, a watery, icy substance unknowingly leaked all over the stage. The floor was instantly turned into a horrific mix of a slip and slide and an ice skating rink.
(☝🏻Scout and I doing our own mommy and daughter Nutcracker ballet this year 😍😂)
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out slip and slide mixed with an ice skating rink floor conditions would be catastrophic to even the most poised and strong ballerina. I bravely took to the stage with a ‘the show must go on’ attitude while I danced while watching my colleagues slip, fall, slide one by one on the stage. It was total freak show circus material. I remember everything seemed to happen in slow motion. In the moment, all of us perfectionist ballerinas were pretty frustrated and perturbed, in hindsight it was hilarious. No one was injured (apart from a few bruised egos) so I laugh about it now when I tell this story. Ballet is so elegant and beautiful, but sometimes technical difficulties can make ballerinas a little less ethereal and put us into ballet show survival mode. It was definitely a humbling experience to have been badly beaten by a fog machine.
(☝🏻 She’s a very focused Sugar Plum Fairy in training)
My holiday traditions as a mother are less physically demanding than a dozen or more performances of the Nutcracker. My favorite tradition now is having my children pick out toys to donate to toy drives. I also enjoy writing down anonymous acts of service my family performed in honor of Christmas and reading them with extended family around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?!? I’m always looking for new traditions to start with my children and would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!
Merry Christmas sweet friends!