It’s Nutcracker season. All around the country ballet-goers of all ages are flocking to see the beloved ballet. Seven-year-old Martha Quirie had the experience of a lifetime this year when she performed as a soldier in the Nutcracker.
Even for young performers, a role in the Nutcracker is a serious commitment. In addition to attending regular weekly ballet classes, Martha rehearsed every Saturday afternoon for three months before she performed. Martha and her mother also attended a special workshop demonstration to learn how to put her hair up properly in a bun. (It’s not as easy as it looks!)
Martha’s last few rehearsals were on stage at the theatre. The final rehearsal, called the dress rehearsal, is just like a real show, but usually without an audience. Martha’s dress rehearsal was a show for hundreds of local school children- a highly popular holiday event for many schools around the area. Martha even got to miss a day of school to do that show.
I interviewed Martha about her experience:
Why did you want to perform in the Nutcracker? I had never done it before and I wanted to see what it was like.
What was the best thing about being in the Nutcracker? I really liked my part being a soldier and I liked being in front of the audience.
Could you see the audience when you were dancing on stage? I could see people out in the audience, but they were red from the red lights shining on them.
What was the hardest thing about performing? Not making mistakes.
How did you get ready for your show? My mom did my hair- it took a long time. Then she dropped me off at the theater and other moms helped me do my makeup and put on my costume. My mom never had to do that, but she did work at a stand during the last show. She sold nutcrackers.
How did you feel when you were dancing on stage? I felt kind of funny. I guess I was excited. But dancing was easy because I remembered the counts they taught me when we did our practices, so I knew where to go.
Is there more ballet in your future? I think I’ll do the Nutcracker again.
One of the most opulent productions of the Nutcracker is from San Francisco Ballet. Click here to purchase your copy:
The snow scene, a favorite scene, performed by the Bolshoi Ballet: