Monday, December 3, 2012

Carnage At Nutcracker Tryouts

I took an interpretive dance class when I was five. There was a box of costumes in the middle of the floor. We dressed in the costumes and danced to music. I have a memory of not wanting to stop dancing when the music ceased. I think my mom had to guide me off the floor, as the teacher wasn’t having any luck. I was eight when I started ballet class with my best friend, Deb. It was the only extracurricular activity I had, and I loved every minute of it. When I was in sixth grade, Deb and I tried out for the Ballet West production of The Nutcracker. We auditioned for the role of toy soldiers. I made it, but Deb did not. Let me just say the ride home from tryouts together was the longest five minutes of my life. The experience of being in a big production, plus performing with professional dancers was incredible. This was a major big deal in my life. The next year, I couldn’t try out for the same part, because I had grown and the parts were determined by height. I had to audition for the role of a Blackamoor, an African slave (probably not a PC term today). This time, Deb had an advantage over me since the main step involved in the audition was Chaines turns (pronounced “shenay”). These turns were my biggest challenge. If ballet steps were school, Chaines turns would be calculus. At tryouts, there were about eighty girls in a large, rectangular room. We were instructed to do our turns from one corner, straight across the room diagonally, to end at the opposite corner. The first time, I went halfway across the room, and somehow ended up back where I started. The second time, I started for the opposite corner, made a right turn, and mowed down the eighty girls waiting in line. Bodies flew against the wall. It wasn’t pretty. Needless to say, I didn’t make the Nutcracker that year. I don’t have any photos from my magical stint as a toy soldier. All I have is a program with my last name misspelled. I'll always have my memories, though.

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