The Nutcracker and Christmas magic

Published 8:17 pm Sunday, December 3, 2017

Last week, when I went by the Troup County High School’s auditorium it felt like I had fallen into a time warp.

The young dancers in their tights and leotards reminded me of my young self, back in the days when I ran around the dance studio that used to sit next to the LaGrange Art Museum. Many of them have big dreams for their future, like I did at that age. Some of them will go on to dance for years. Some of them will eventually take another path, but the lessons that they learn from dance of hard work and discipline will follow them through life.

I don’t recall ever actually taking part in a performance of The Nutcracker as a child, but the ballet does carry another fond memory for me thanks to my dad who faithfully carried his ballet obsessed daughter to watch The Nutcracker performed by the Atlanta Ballet at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Even as an adult, The Fox is impressive, but for a child at Christmas time, it was magical.

The old world design and tall ceilings made me feel like I was in a palace. I was certainly dressed for a palace because I still remember wearing my “Christmas outfit” from Mansour’s to the event. My dad even wore his suit with a jacket, so it had to be special. I think he was more interested in the orchestra then the ballet really, but all I cared about was the dancers.

I remember that the ballet was wonderful, and it is hard not to think fondly of it now, years later as photos from this year’s Lafayette Center for Dance performance pop up on my Facebook feed.

My aspirations have since turned from that of a performer to a writer, but the memories always hit hard around Christmas time of dance practices and hoping for that one specific part and the thrill that went through me as the orchestra warmed up and the sense of awe I felt as the dancers soared above the stage.

Even if none of my toys ever came to life and took me on a marvelous journey like Clara’s did, I did get the next best thing — or perhaps something even better — when I traveled to a theater that looked like a palace with one of my favorite people in the world to watch dancers perform what seemed to be impossible feats.

I hope that all the dancers who performed this weekend got to enjoy a bit of their own Christmas magic, and thank you all for sharing it with us.