As a child, I watched the 1989 version of the ballet on our television screen every Christmas. I always imagined what it would be like to be Clara and get whisked away to a wondrous dream world with dancing mice, sugar plum fairies and a nutcracker who turns into a handsome prince.
In fact, one of my most memorable Christmas gifts growing up was an actual nutcracker in my stocking. Lucky for me, I ended up being blessed with a daughter, Molly, who shares my love of the production.
One year I took Molly and her little sister, Zoe, but that turned out to be more stressful than fun. Don’t let those dimples fool you!
Turns out my little redhead would rather fish Tampons out of my purse and propel them across the theatre than sit idle in her seat.
She’s now 8, but not the theater-going type. That’s okay, it’s nice to have that special one-on-one time with my oldest daughter who recently just turned double digits.
Molly was just 5 when I surprised her with tickets to the ballet.
I wanted to make it a night she’d always remember — one that would become our annual tradition.
That afternoon she came home from Kindergarten to find a beautiful new(ish) white satin and crinoline dress on her bed, new shiny black patent-leather boots and a red pea-coat that she had been eyeing up.
“Wow, what’s all this for mommy???” she asked. “Are we going somewhere special?”
“We’re going to The Nutcracker!” I said, watching her little dimples flash in the rear-view mirror.
“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you mommy!” she said. “But how come you’re not dressed up? You didn’t even do your hair…”
“Let’s not wreck the moment,” I replied, inspecting my messy mommy top knot.
All eyes were on little Miss Molly as we entered the Surrey Arts Centre — she believed it was because of her princess dress, but I think it was the huge smile and sparkle in her eyes that represented the childlike wonder most of us adults in attendance were feeling.
Shortly after the curtain rose and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score came on, I felt like I was eight-years-old again. Everything from the lavish costumes and set design to the beautiful dancing, it was everything I had hoped for and more.
Molly was literally at the edge of her seat and would turn every so often to smile.
“This is awesome,” she whispered, giving my hand a little squeeze.
What impressed Molly the most was that many of the dancers were the same age as her — even younger. “Do you think I could dance like that one day,” she asked on the drive home.
“Well, we’d have to get you into ballet first,” I replied. “With lots and lots of practice you can do whatever you want.”
On Saturday, Dec. 14, we’ll continue our tradition of watching the Royal City Youth Ballet Company bring the classic tale to life onstage at Surrey Arts Centre.
If you’d like to experience this performance, check out the remaining dates and times below. Note: Performances are filling up fast so don’t delay.