The first stage performance sailed through without a hitch. I did manage to get a couple of audience- heads-and- blurry M-onstage photos, and some bootleg video ( ‘No videotaping or flash photography, please’) of the times M came to centre stage.
There was confusion aplenty when it was time for the Little Sisters and a host of other Party Girls to rush onstage and take their positions .“Don’t trample the babies!”, the director warned the dancers stampeding into place, more like wildebeest than gazelles.
The footwork and leaps of the principals were impeccable, unlike in a previous year’s performance when the Sugar Plum Fairy ignominously landed on her bottom from a complicated set of pirouettes and sautes. This year,every dancer did his/her part with grace and verve. The Little Sisters looked charming, complementing Clara's moves and mimicking her gentle ministration of the Nutcracker doll with their baby dolls. The baby mice were adorable, as were the youngest dancers of all, the Bonbons scampering on stage from under Mother Ginger's voluminous skirts.
M’s ringlets held through performances 1 and 2, but on day 3, I made the mistake of attempting to wash out the industrial strength hairspray out, and the ringlets wilted. Her hair started to straighten out minutes before the performance started. Oh well, at least her ringlets were perfect for 2 out of 3 attempts.
A final almost-disaster came in the form of home-baked cookies for another fundraiser sale of snacks for the last performance. I forgot to pick up 2 dozen cookies from the local supermarket, and was reduced to riffling through the pages of an unopened Maida Heatter’s Cookies in hope of finding a recipe that would work with the meager ingredients I had, having run out of eggs, butter and chocolate chips.
I found one that seemed healthful as well as unappetizing enough to scare away most buyers- a honey raisin oatmeal cookie needing vegetable oil rather than butter. Perfect, I thought. It would have been perfect, except that the cookies got a little black on the bottom, since I forgot to adjust the baking time allowing for my black cookie tray.
As it turned out, even slightly blackened cookies had their takers, especially when labeled in a pretty script and packed 3 to a Christmas themed bag tied with ribbon. I only hope the buyers didn’t get ill- I certainly didn’t from the couple of sample ones I tasted!
M had a prodigiously good time fulfilling her dream of dancing in the Nutcracker, and just as well. This will be her last year in ballet school. Scared of the physical demands if she continues long enough in ballet to go ‘en pointe’ ( tippy-toe dancing)- which places prodigious demands on the foot as I saw from a photo of a leading ballerina’s unshod and distorted feet, I will be switching her to Bharatanatyam this September.
That will be a story for another day.