A Family Tradition Sweet For Children And Adults
Growing up, one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season was going to see Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. It all began because my school nurse did an exam of students’ backs. During my exam, she found that I was in need of some help keeping my back straight. She advised my mother to put me in a dance or gymnastics type program that would train and strengthen my back, or I would need to wear a brace to straighten my back later. I opted for ballet. I new world opened for me, as I was introduced to classical music as well as dance. In those dance classes I met all the greats: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. [Image Credit: Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer, Cumberland Island, Georgia, 1990. Photograph © Annie Leibovitz. From ‘Annie Leibovitz At Work’]
My mother was very supportive and coming from NYC had a great passion for theater. Soon we were getting annual tickets to The ABT. I was honored to have witnessed Baryshnikov’s historic and ahead of its time rendition of Cinderella. I saw Alexander Godunov dance Wild Boy (oh my), and Patrick Bissell too. It was a great time for ballet. Of course, The Nutcracker was a must see every December. No other story captures the spirit of childhood during the holidays quite like Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. With all its magic including dancing sugar plums, it’s no wonder it’s a family tradition around the world. Decades later, my own mother-in-law would renew this tradition in our family as she took all her grandkids to San Francisco’s Nutcracker annually.
“No other composer has ever succeeded in capturing the fairy-tale world of childhood innocence as inimitably as Tchaikovsky in this most cherishable of his three great ballet scores. The ballet’s title comes from a story written in 1814, by the German fantasy writer ETA Hoffmann, in which a child’s Christmas presents come to life and whisk her off to the Land of Sweets.” [Source: CLASSICAL FEATURES Best Tchaikovsky Works: 10 Essential Pieces By The Great Composer: Explore the best Tchaikovsky works featuring 10 masterpieces …’. Published on March 17, 2019 By uDiscover Team.]
See a preview of New York City Ballet Performing The Nutcracker, Waltz Of The Flowers
The good news is we can all see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ in select cinemas nationwide on Dec. 5 and 10: http://bit.ly/1kD5PCw
The bad news is, sadly, practicing my spins made me vomit and a career in dance was, alas, not for me. But I continue to do my ballet barrework to this day. I have a portable ballet barre old enough that I couldn’t find it online anymore but it is something like this one:
There are so many benefits to dance beyond becoming a prima ballerina. For me, learning to stand up straight and strengthen my back were reason enough. Those skills are still in use 35 years later. In addition to cardio, strengthening, and balance, dance provides the same life long benefits as playing a musical instrument, including your voice.
- It’s fun! And can be as social as you want it to be. Learn to play alone or to build friendships and start a band!
- It makes you smart. Studies show playing an instrument gives kids an advantage in school, and exercises the aging brain too!
- It heals the soul! Music is therapy for the musician and the audience. Studies show playing music reduces anxiety and depression.
- It’s a gift that lasts a lifetime; a gift that will continue give back year after year!
From coordination and gross motor skills, to physics and geometry, dance is an exercise for your mind, body and spirit, no matter your age.
Would you like to see a performance of The Nutcracker, take dance lessons, or give the gift of dance to someone else? Here’s how I found performances and classes near me:
I did an internet search of “The Nutcracker Near Me” and clicked on a result by the search engine entitled EVENTS. It lead me to a list a nearby performances and teachers within my area. I used the same EVENTS page to search “dance lessons near me.” There were surprisingly more than I thought.
On a limited budget?
Clear some space in your home or outdoor space. Go over to your favorite video stream, like Youtube for example, and search dance lessons. Let the dancing begin.
May you be inspired and moved by the music of Tchaikovsky paired with beautiful blooms. Live artfully! ~Love, Lynda Anne