springfield ballet company

The Nutcracker: A Holiday Tradition

The Nutcracker, al holiday tradition that has been a part of our family since, well, before we were a family! My first year in the Nutcracker was 1985.  I was 16 and a scrawny, confidence lacking mouse who thought she would NEVER get to wear a tutu and a tiara.  My husband worked back stage and my mom helped with costumes.  It all started there. I made all of my best friends that year, and it started a lifetime of traditions.  I have taught many generations of dancers that have also adopted The Nutcracker as a family tradition, so I thought it would be fun to share some of our former SD dancers cherished memories.

My favorite Nutcracker moments were always the ones leading up to the show during tech-week. Everyone would arrive, claim their spots at the makeup mirrors, and the dressing room would become full of life. There was such a sense of community as everyone got ready for warm-ups, and tried to help each other get their homework done before the rehearsal. From fastening tutus to helping each other do winged eyeliner, it was always amazing seeing the transformation as the girls became ballerinas, and the ballet started to come to life. —Emily Standley

Marzipan was always one of my favorite variations so performing it with my best/oldest friends in the company during our senior year performance made it so special! Plus, I always loved be “buddies” with the little ones and watching them grow into beautiful ballerinas! —Becky Gowin

-performing Spanish variation with my bff Bailee 

-NOT getting stuck in the doll box

-Secret Snowflake and the ample amount fuzzy socks I acquired over the years 

-quality bonding time during hours of rehearsals and tech week 

-the snow dump after the final show —Jaelin Heavisides

My favorite nutcracker memory is being able to get the opportunity to dance my dream roles of sugar plum and snow queen. They both challenged me in many different ways and pushed me to become a better dancer and it also helped be gain partnering skills. I also loved all the shenanigans and inside jokes that were created backstage with my best friends —Bailee Brinkman

I can’t even begin to recount my Nutcracker memories, as they include so many generations of friends, dancers and families.  I remember going on tour and having to stay with a host family and they thought since we were dancers we should watch Giselle on video. I remember all the crazy antics backstage, and someone laughing so hard they wet their pants on the party scene couch (It WASN’T ME!) Being in the party scene these last 20 years or so has built an actual “Nutcracker Family” that comes together for a few rehearsals every year to reenact our story every year.  

That young, inexperienced, confidence lacking teenager did get to wear a tutu and tiara.  The fact that I had to work so hard to get it shaped my future in dance and this community.  I have watched many of my dancers grow to be Clara, Dew Drop, Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy and also Mice…just like me.

Join our Nutcracker Family this weekend at Sangamon Auditorium.  Saturday, 2:00 and 7:00 pm, Sunday 2:00. 206-6160.