The Nutcracker Ballet

For the past five years, we have been attending The Nutcracker Ballet by the Appalachian Ballet Company. The shows always take place at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium.

Mom and children at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium

With my children at The Nutcracker in 2017

It is fun to establish Christmas traditions and then, as the years go by, compare pictures, especially when children are involved. Seeing their growth, one gets a sense of the passing of time. It’s shocking sometimes to compare “then” and “now” pictures and see just how much they have grown.

The Nutcracker is special for me because my mom took me to see it when I was a small child in Romania. We saw it once and it was enough to leave a lasting impression on me. When I had the opportunity to take my children there, I did not hesitate.

Scene from The Nutcracker Ballet

Scene from The Nutcracker Ballet

The music, the costumes, the beautiful smiles on the the faces of the ballerinas, the Christmas decor, all of it spells “Christmas is here” for me. One can tell the artists work hard every year and it’s good for my children to see children involved in an art that we do not necessarily want to pursue. It opens them up to different avenues of expression – at least as spectators.

Year after year, we go to see The Nutcracker and it does not get old. My son does not enjoy ballet per se. He enjoys LEGO bricks and computers. He does not necessarily care for people prancing around on stage. But, year after year, he likes the music and he enjoys the whole experience a little more. He makes me laugh with some of his commentaries after the show.

Grandma and granddaughter at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium

My mom and my daughter at The Nutcracker in 2012

“Mommy, the prince’s costume was really tight. I did not like it. You could see, like, everything. It wasn’t modest.” Me: “You mean, the Nutcracker himself? I know, son, I understand how you feel. They are called ballet tights. They help him be safe as he jumps and twirls in the air or as he lifts his partner. There’s nothing fluttering about his legs to trip him over.”

And then I had this idea… “You know, your sister really wants to study ballet. But the studio is about one hour away from our house. If I will start taking her there for lessons twice a week, we might as well sign you up for ballet lessons, too.”

You should have seen his face. “I am NOT signing up for ballet, mom!” I laughed. He realized I was kidding. Anyway, I had fun with it.

Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece touches me to tears every year. My daughter asks why I tear up and I reply, “Because it is beautiful.” Artistic beauty creates an artistic emotion in me and all I can do is cry for the sheer joy of it all. Everybody should see The Nutcracker at least once in a lifetime.

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