Thursday, December 16, 2010

Visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Christmas is all about the magic. There's an extra sparkle to the world when you walk down frosted streets, a chill in the air that promises something unexpected. As a girl, I fully believed that at the stroke of midnight, while I was fast asleep, my dolls would awake and be whisked away on snowflakes to an illuminated world, full of sweet sugar plums and bonbons, graceful promenades, and that which makes our cheeks rosy.

As adults, the childhood wonder of the holidays can get buried beneath shopping lists, party planning, and a tightly packed calendar. Christmas becomes an obligation more than a magical experience. At Friday evening's performance of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company's The Nutcracker, however, I was reminded of the wonder of the season when a little one seated next to me, dressed in her holiday best, watched with wide eyes as the spell of this enchanted world was cast for the first time. Her gaze never left the stage as the GRBC's cast of professionals and students twirled, leaped and twinkled across; her grip on her own nutcracker doll never loosening.

The Nutcracker has a special way of bringing out the magic of the holidays, of finding the burnt-out bulb in our string of lights, replacing it, and reigniting the Christmas spirit. Each year, thousands enjoy the Grand Rapids performances of this holiday ballet, generation after generation passing down the tradition. Bringing such a cherished holiday classic to life can be a daunting task that involves the coordination of nearly 200 individuals, but the Grand Rapids Ballet Company annually brings the world of Clara to life spectacularly, from the opening party at the Stahlbaum residence to the final notes in the surreal Kingdom of Sweets.

Nearly a week after the performance, I still find myself humming The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy while tip-toeing down the WMTA hallway in faux-en pointe style. Christmas light displays seem more dazzling and holiday parties more cheery. I may not have a mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer lurking around with tricks up his sleeve, but The Nutcracker certainly transported me to a new world where, like Clara, I found the magic of the season once again.

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company annually performs The Nutcracker at the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. While this year's performances have concluded, the ballet calendar will soon bring us Nine Sinatra Songs at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre, beginning January 28.

High five and happy holidays,

-Shannon

1 comment:

Audrey said...

The Nutcracker is always a magical experience.