Sunday, January 27, 2013

Carrying On A Holiday Tradition

One of my favorite moments of the very busy recent holiday season was taking Princess E to see the Corpus Christi Ballet performance of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

When Katy and Nick were little, I took them a couple of times and they always seemed to enjoy it. The best seats we could afford in those days were in the balcony, so it was always kind of a birds-eye view. I always loved dressing them in their Sunday best for a trip to the ballet. That early exposure to a cultural event that was different from what they saw on a daily basis helped them appreciate music and dance. We also took them to live theater performances whenever we could.

Princess E and Grams all dressed up for the ballet.

On Saturday, December 15, Katy, Travis, Nick, and Marie ran in the Run for Your Life Zombie Run in Austin. When they decided to do that I volunteered to keep Our Little Princesses so they could make a weekend of it. Fortunately, it coincided with the local production of The Nutcracker. We went to the Saturday night performance that included the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.

Princess E will be four years old in February while Princess J will not turn two until April. We decided that it would not be a good idea to try to take a 20-month-old to the ballet, so she spent an evening at home with Grandad while Princess E and I made it a girls night out with my good friends Deanna Solomon, Mary Lou Simmons, and Megan Wright.

Katy did her part by preparing Princess E in advance. They watched the animated version and listened to the music for several weeks before our trip. So before we went, she was familiar with the story and the music. She could even name many of the songs as they played.

For me, an important part of taking children to a live performance is teaching them proper theater etiquette. We were in our seats well before the curtain went up and I made sure that she went to the bathroom before we took our seats so we wouldn't have to get up during the performance.

As soon as the curtain went up she was completely enthralled. She stood in front of me for almost the entire performance with her eyes absolutely devouring every movement on the stage. She loved every minute of it. I will admit that it didn't hold her attention quite as well after intermission, but all in all she adored it.

The auditorium was packed. We were fortunate enough to meet the young lady who danced the role of Clara after the performance. She very graciously took the time to speak to Princess E and posed for a photo which I cannot find. I believe one of my friends took it and it may be on one of their phones, but I don't have it.

I was very amused by the number of older ladies who approached me after the play asking me where she was studying and who she was studying with. They had all noted her enthusiasm for the ballet and thought she should be taking classes. I explained politely that she is only three years old and lives in San Antonio. They all encouraged her to start taking lessons as soon as possible.

I have seen local productions of The Nutcracker several times. This year's production was definitely the best I've ever seen. The costuming was elaborate and beautiful, the scenery was well done. The dancers and the music were far better than I've seen in Corpus Christi before. Both the local cast and the featured dancers were exceptionally good.

I think next year, we're going to try to attend a performance in Houston or San Antonio. I can't wait until Princess J is old enough to join us.

5 comments:

  1. It's so much fun isn't it? My granddaughter and I have been going to Christmas performances by the ballet or symphony for several years. And, a big part of it is the making of the holiday outfit.

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  2. We used to take our daughters to live performances of varied sorts, to expose them, as you said, to cultural events outside their everyday norm. They were wonderful experiences. It's great to see you carrying on the tradition with your Princess E. I love that Clara took the time to chat with the little fan.

    Thanks for sharing this in the GRAND Social!

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  3. Oh, gosh. I commented once but it disappeared as I signed into Google. BUT, the crux of the comment was what a great memory for Princess E and you, and how cool that Clara took the time to chat. Sweet! Thank you for linking to the GRAND Social!

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  4. Wish my granddaughter lived closer to me so I could do this sort of thing! Two years ago we did go see a show together in Philadelphia and it was a real treat for both of us. Those traditions are so special.

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  5. This just sounds like the perfect evening and a wonderful tradition to continue! Wouldn't it be wonderful if she did grow up to be a ballerina? I wish there were more theater productions for children near us.

    Oh and the two of you look so pretty all dressed up! There is something extra fun about that part, too!

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