Guest writer: Aria Alekzander, corps de ballet
(Read Ms. Alekzander’s bio…)
To put it boldly, I love The Nutcracker. With that statement I’m at the risk of a pointe shoe or two being tossed at my head. Like most ballet dancers I performed my first Nutcracker at the mature age of six, and now getting ready for this year’s production I’ve performed well over a couple hundred Nutcrackers. By now the music should be more haunting than enlightening and the costumes more heavy and itchy than beautiful and glamorous.
However, I will again put myself in the ring of fire and say I love The Nutcracker. I’m not sure what the reason is for my chemical imbalance. But the truth is, no matter how many performances, no matter how many rehearsals, the music is never less than uplifting and the shows never lose their magic. I believe the main reason for this is that I come from a dancing family: both my parents were dancers and currently direct a small ballet company, I have an older brother who dances and a younger sister who dances as well. I like to think of our family as the Von Trapp family of ballet. So growing up, my holiday memories coincide with my Nutcracker memories. My mother choreographed her version of The Nutcracker while she was pregnant with me. So I like to also think that my rare reaction of joy and happiness to The Nutcracker is due to the fact that I heard the Waltz of the Flowers while still in the womb, and I was practically born into candyland.
I love each Nutcracker season differently and hope that some of my favorite memories have been and will continue to be shared with the audience. Starting as a little soldier, dreaming of becoming one of the big girls with toe shoes, it’s unbelievable how my dreams have come true.
This being my first season at Houston Ballet, I’m thrilled to hear that we have over thirty performances of The Nutcracker. With inspiration in every rehearsal studio, I look forward to my favorite time of year. See you all in candyland!