Every holiday season my heart just begs to listen to the magic Nutcracker or even better, to go see the ballet. However, this is one of those things that falls under the category “Next time – with Troy." So, while we are not doing it this year, a lot of nutcracking is still going on in our lives this season.
First came the toy.
Around Thanksgiving time, I took Troy to a craft store and bought a small wooden Nutcracker ornament. The only painted thing that it had was the face. The rest was tabula rasa, so to speak, a clean unpainted wooden surface. So we painted it ourselves and made it our very own and special Nutcracker. When I say we, I mean it, because Troy was there the whole time, watching me painting with a lot of attention and patience. (He loves to watch people paint).
Second, came the music.
I introduced Troy to the beautiful magic world of the Nutcracker. We keep listening to it while driving and he likes it. He smiles and laughs especially when he hears Dance of the Snowflakes and Waltz of the Flowers.
Third, came the gift.
The Nutcracker water snow music ball. That was one of the holiday gifts I got for Troy. I could not find the image online, so the closest I could get was this book cover, created by the same artist.
So if you wind the ball and shake it you can see The Nutcracker and Marie flying in a slay through the sparkling snow over the castle surrounded by angels/fairies to the sound of the Dance of Sugar Plum Fairy.
It’s a beautiful toy. It fascinates him. He can just sit there staring at it for a long-long time.
Fourth, came the movie: George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. We watched it together this weekend. Of course, Troy is not able to stay focused for a long time yet. But we took breaks. Just for the fun of it I danced around and he started dancing in his play pan as well, holding his head proud and high, just like the dancers on the screen. He was a lot of fun to watch. It was a fun thing to do on a nasty rainy Sunday, and I am sure Troy got something out of it. At least, he heard a lot of good music and had fun moving around to it.
As for the Nutcracker itself, every time I listen to it, I recall listening to a musicologist speaking about this ballet and emphasizing that actually it is very sad and that the audience gets so distracted by the dancing, the costumes and the scenery, that they almost stop hearing the music. But if you just listen to the music – it is really sad.
From the journey to the Fairyland up to the apotheosis–it almost feels like there is a mini-death in every piece. To me, it’s all about the fleeting joy of the dream, the temporary-ness of love and happiness, the impossibility to hold onto your dream (no matter how hard you try – it still slips right out of your hands and leaves you to embrace harsh and cold reality).
If you read this and feel strongly about it, be it strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing, post a comment – I would be thrilled to learn how my readers feel about the magic of the Nutcracker!