The Perks of Being a Waltz Flower
by Stephanie Morrow
My amazing friend Jessica asked me if I’d like to guest post on her blog and I was über excited by the prospect, so I’ve been thinking ever since about what I could possibly contribute. Then, as usual with me, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep around midnight with a 9 a.m. ballet class looming over my insomniac head when inspiration struck. I’ve branched out a bit from my normal references to Hitchhiker’s Guide and Wonderland for this post. It’s Nutcracker season and I’ll try my hand at referencing one of my favorite books, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
So, without further ado, I give you
the Perks of Being a WaltzFlower.
Being part of the Nutcracker is pretty special to me. I always wanted to do it when I was growing up, but I didn’t dance at a ballet school, so I just went every year instead, admiring the beauty from the outside. Back when we had to wait until after Thanksgiving, not Halloween, to listen to Christmas music, (my mom said Christmas shouldn’t really be mentioned until Santa arrived during the Macy’s parade) I would look forward to pulling out our cassette tape Lamb Chop’s Nutcracker Suite, and our video cassette of the 1993 New York City Ballet version of the Nutcracker (the one with Macaulay Culkin). I still know the words to almost all the Nutcracker songs, (yes, the Nutcracker songs do have words) which I sing under my breath during rehearsal.
I was pretty stoked last year when I got to be in my first Nutcracker ever, and I’m lucky enough to do it again this year! Can you believe it?
There are a lot of great things about being involved in any production, but there are some key ones to being a part of a Nutcracker. Like being able to tell people you’re doing the Nutcracker. It makes you sound pretty cool, I think. Also, you get to watch beautiful dancers dance to beautiful music every day. Which is more or less the life of a dancer anyway, but when you’re a WaltzFlower, it’s even more special to sit back and observe the making of a Nutcracker. Do you like that term? I made it up. I know, I know, it’s not great, but it serves a purpose. I once read a story about a boy named Charlie. He was a bit of a wallflower. He wasn’t a dancer.
When you’re a dancer people sometimes assume you want to be in the spotlight all the time. And many dancers love that, which is awesome! But I’d rather be part of the group. I’d rather sit back and admire the details of the set. Wow. There are some incredibly creative and talented people working on the props and scenery . . . and the costumes! I love the way they sparkle just so in the lights. Oh and the lighting! There is nothing more magical than seeing a production come together and knowing how many people made it happen.
WaltzFlowers also get to watch the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen and sweet little Clara, and they get to know them on and off the stage. WaltzFlowers get to see just how much of the dancers’ own personalities shine through with each passé and pirouette. And they get to stand grinning from ear to ear in the wing as the Sugar Plum Fairy holds that arabesque balance on pointe just a fraction longer than she did yesterday.
There are so many great things about being a WaltzFlower, but I think the best is being a part of something so tremendously huge. How long have folks been performing and seeing The Nutcracker? Every year it’s part of so many people’s lives in different capacities. It touches the old and young alike, it brings the magic to a magical time of year, and it lives a life of its own, much like dance in general. I think the biggest perk of being a WaltzFlower is being part of something so old and beautiful, because when we step onto that stage, no matter what we’re doing or wearing or thinking, “in that moment, I swear we [are] infinite,” and that’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me.
Much love from your friend,