For most of my life, the holidays weren't the holidays without a production.
I grew up with a youth theatre company that presented a different Christmas play every year; each with of a run of something like 25 performances in ten days. In high school, there were holiday vocal concerts and band concerts and dance concerts, and of course there was Nutcracker.
The tradition continued as I became an adult-- just a few months after I moved to Texas, I returned home to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy one last time. During the time I danced with the contemporary ballet company here, I got to perform the title role in James Sewell's version of Amahl and the Night Visitors-- twice (and they're performing it again this year, too. They've got an all-new Amahl-- a lovely gal who performed with me in Letters You Wrote last year. She will be wonderful).
In the last few years, I've gotten to share that tradition with my students as well: Three years ago when I first danced in Amahl, a big group of them came to see me perform. Two years ago, three of my students (and myself) danced together in the Great Russian Nutcracker production here in Texas. And last year-- after I interviewed Elise Judson and Peter Franc about their roles in the ballet-- I went to see one of my own students perform as a clown in Houston Ballet's Nutcracker.
This year, the tradition is a little different. For the first time since Ireallycan'trememberwhen, I'm going to experience the magic from the audience and not the stage. It'll be a little strange for me-- this time of year I'm usually busy sewing up extra pairs of pointe shoes and stocking up on fresh tights and pan-cake makeup, not baking and planning my Christmas decorating scheme. But it will be a nice change: I'll have more time to travel and visit family & friends back East; and I can get out and see a bunch of different holiday productions in the city-- something I didn't do enough when I was performing-- and support my friends who are gracing the stages. My "Holiday production" tradition still continues; but for now I'm going to be on the receiving end of the performance.
In fact, there's a new tradition beginning this year: My boyfriend and I have agreed that we will go to see Houston Ballet's Nutcracker as a couple every year from now on.
...and speaking of my boyfriend: We're leaving for Louisiana in a few hours, so I better get going. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!