On Sunday, I took Paprika (9) and Ginger (6) to the Los Angeles Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker. I’ve been taking the girls since Paprika was three years old – so we practically have the whole thing memorized by now. 🙂
Our seats are in the front row, center – which is amazing. We never have anyone in front of us to block our view, we have lots of leg room, and the whole crowd is behind us…so it makes it seem like the dancers are dancing to us. It is magical!
While we were at the show, Mr. M took Violet (4) and Ellie (11 months) on a special daddy-daughter date. Then they came home and he painted Violet’s toes…violet! She was so happy and thought she was lucky she got to stay home with her Daddy this year.
I might take Violet next year to the show. I almost bought her a ticket this year – but I figured I could wait one more year. She’s very active and has a hard time sitting through shows longer than twenty minutes. Paprika at age three was glued to her seat and completely silent during the whole show. I think Violet will be happier at the show if we wait a little bit longer to take her.
Me with Ginger and Paprika before the show:
Anyhoo – this was Ginger’s third year going to the show.
The first year we took her, she had so much crowd anxiety that it was seriously hard. She screamed whenever anyone looked at her. Last year was better, and this year was MUCH better!
The only thing was that she didn’t want to wear dress-up clothes. I got her all dressed in a pretty dress and did her hair in braids – and then she was so upset, she didn’t want to go to the show. She only wanted to go in her pajamas and slippers, with wild hair.
At first, I was really frustrated because I had in my head this vision of what a child should look like when they go to a ballet (sitting front row, center, no less). I knew everyone there would be dressed up, and looking so fancy. The idea of a child walking around in slippers, a dirty jacket (because she refuses to take it off), and messy hair just wasn’t really the vision I had in my mind.
There were tears (hers, not mine) – and then, I decided to just let her wear what she wanted to wear. I always tell my girls that their body is THEIR body – and it belongs only to them. The decisions they make about their bodies are ultimately theirs. I think that’s important especially as they grow – to know that no one else can force them to do things with or to their bodies without their consent. I know that sounds deep and serious – but I do think it starts small with something as simple as clothing and grows from there.
Long story short, I decided it wasn’t worth the battle to have her in a fancy outfit just to stop people from staring at us, and to make our pictures cuter. She went in her pajamas, slippers, her Panda jacket that she refuses to take off, and with wild hair. We did get a lot of stares from people, and that’s okay. Let them stare! 🙂
I also let the girls bring an army of stuffed animals with them. They were so excited to bring their “friends” to the show.
Now how did it go? Well, I am happy to report that Ginger and Paprika were both perfect at the show. Ginger sat quietly in her seat, and was enthralled during the whole ballet.
The only time I heard a peep from Ginger was during one part when she whispered to me: This part sounds like Swan Lake. Do you think Tchaikovsky was thinking about that when he wrote The Nutcracker?
She also cried when they shot the mouse king. Real tears! She said: Why did he have to die?
Paprika loved the show so much, as usual! She really wants to take ballet lessons, and choreograph her own dances. She has been asking about that for a long time (years) – which makes me think maybe we should start ballet for her. Ginger danced in the aisles during intermission and also begged me to let her take ballet. With gymnastics several times/week and piano lessons, I try not to overschedule ourselves. So, we’ll see. It’s all a balance.
Still, it was very sweet watching them dream about performing in a ballet. Paprika talked to the girl who played Clara for awhile after the ballet – and it was so sweet. The girl who played Clara is 20 years old and she was talking to Paprika like she was a wise old lady. She said, “Keep dancing and your dreams will come true!”
I think that’s a lot like life: Keep dancing and your dreams will come true! Overall, we had a great time at the show and I’m already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, the girls have given me quite a few at-home ballet performances. It is sweet watching them dream, dance, and leap!
P.S. Just for fun, here is the post I wrote last year about our trip to The Nutcracker. What a difference a year makes! Oh – and the weirdest thing: This year, we sat right next to the very same lady we sat next to last year. What are the chances? It was amazing hearing her perspective on homeschooling. Our meeting (again) felt so meant-to-be. It’s incredible how life works sometimes… 🙂
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