For years I cringed every time I heard even a few notes of Nutcracker music ringing out in stores and on commercials this time of year. Having spent the better part of two decades listening to the entire score from September through December, it was all I could do to tune it out once I got into my twenties and ‘put ballet behind me.’ I told myself it was similar to ‘It’s A Small World’ – something I just couldn’t get out of my head. A jingle that grated on my inner ear.
The truth, though. The truth is I miss it. So much. And for many years it was just too painful to be reminded of it, knowing I had ‘put ballet behind me.’ I miss being part of a tradition so much larger than me. Focusing on a singular goal for so much time, all leading up to sharing a timeless joy with so many audience members. The hours upon hours of rehearsals and classes, the waiting to find out what parts we would be playing that year – it could be agony to be sure. But also something so special I craved it – still crave it. Nutcracker was synonymous with Christmas for me. And then when it wasn’t I went in search of all kinds of other holiday traditions that just never seemed to fill the void.
I tried putting my pointe shoes on again the other night. (I posted pics HERE.) To be reminded of what it felt like to be a dancer. It hurt. More than it used to. And I may never put them back on and return to the stage to delight audiences with my fancy footwork. But I also know, now, more than ever, that I will never stop being a dancer. It will never be behind me. The torture I have felt throughout the years when I have made the conscious – or not – decision to turn my back on dance, it was because I was being untrue to myself. I can’t ever separate me as a being from me as a dancer. We are one and the same, even when the perfectionist in me doesn’t feel my current state lives up to the dancer I once was, or could have been.
But I digress. The point of tonight’s post was, that I was reminded today of how much joy Nutcracker has brought to me throughout the years. And while the holiday spirit didn’t quite snatch me up this year, reminiscing about my dancing days did bring a smile to my face. And it brought me to the below picture, which also made me smile.
Here’s to another day of creativity…