Monday, November 14, 2011

Nutcracker News

Hi, this is Kaya (with Fiona looking over my shoulder.) As I mentioned in the last post, today was a big day for us - the day our dance teachers assigned us roles for The Nutcracker. Now that we have our parts, rehearsals will kick into high gear, then we'll start performances in a little less than a month. Wow, what a whirlwind!

I got cast in several roles; this is normal for the pointe students at our school because there aren't as many of us. In Act One I'll be a Party Guest. Then I'll have plenty of time to change after my scene, but in Act Two I'll be in and out of Quick Change a lot! At the very start of Act Two, I'll be one of the three Sugar Plum Fairy Attendants, which is like a servant of the real Sugar Plum Fairy; not all productions have that role, but it's basically sort of setting the scene for the Kingdom of Sweets. Then I'm in the Candy Cane dance - that's what we do with the Russian music - and Waltz of the Flowers. I have the length of two other dances to change in between each of those, but still, I will be busy and I'm sure I'll always be in a hurry!

Then I have to change back into my Sugar Plum Fairy Attendant costume for curtain call for the evening performances. The daytime performances are shorter because they cut the Pas de Deux and the Cavalier's solo so it won't be as long for the kids who attend as a school fieldtrip, so for those I won't have time to change back. For evenings, they want me to try it, because that's considered my "main" role since it's a smaller group than my other dances. Madness!

The biggest news, though, actually comes from Fiona. Yes, little miss "I probably won't get a part, I'm not as good as the other girls, they've all been dancing longer than me, my teacher doesn't like me, etc." Apparently she was wrong about all this, because she got one of the biggest roles! ;-)

Fiona is one of the two girls who was cast as Clara! Woot! Our school double-casts for the younger kids, so that more people get a chance to perform, they don't get so tired, and they don't have to miss as much school. The two casts get the same number of performance days, and it's different from alternates; the alternate for Clara will only take over if Fiona or the other girl get too hurt or sick to perform. My roles aren't double-cast, so I'll be in all the shows, but on Cast B days I get to dance with my sister. We're both really excited! Fiona is so proud of herself and happy - as she should be.

There's one little fly in the ointment, though, and that is that the Clara understudy is not happy. She was just assuming she was going to get the role, and she's really upset that she got cast as an alternate. (Even though at the performances where she doesn't have to be an emergency Clara she'll still go on as a Polichinelle, so it's not like she won't be on stage in some capacity.) I think she's probably getting a lot of pressure at home about it, too, because her two older sisters both danced the role of Clara at her age, and her mother seems like one of those stage-mommy types. I feel bad for her in a way; it's no fun to be disappointed, and we were all hoping for good parts. I don't feel bad for her all the way, though, because she's being really nasty to Fiona and the other Clara about it. Both of the Claras joined the school in the past year, and the alternate is whispering to the other girls that they don't deserve it because they're new.

I was trying to cut her some slack because she was so miserable about it, but then I heard her tell her friend that Fiona is "crazy," and at that point I went and told her to stop it and grow up. Fiona has bipolar disorder, but she's not crazy and that has nothing to do with whether or not she can dance - which obviously she can, since she got the role.

The understudy backed off, but I'm worried she's going to try to spoil this for Fiona. Well, not if Big Sis Kaya has anything to say about it, she won't. ;-)

So Fiona and I are celebrating tonight, mean people aside. I think cookies and a silly dance movie are called for! :-)



  1. Hi Kaya! I am so excited for you and Fiona. Definitely eat cookies. I'm sorry about the mean girl. It must be terrible to have a mom like that, but that doesn't mean that she gets to be terrible. I think Waltz of the Flowers is my favorite dance from the Nutcracker - but I do like the one with the Clown Mother and the Hot Cocoa Kids (do all companies do it like that? I like the acrobats!) Good luck on the Nutcracker!

  2. Congratulations Kaya and Fiona!!!!!!

    Kaya, you have great parts! I've never wanted to be a Party Scene girl because the dresses are really fancy- but you get to do so much dancing. My production does Candy Canes to Russian too. Sugar Plum fairy attendant sounds really exciting. And Waltz of the Flowers!!! Wow!! In my company, that's only done by adults in the company. Even in my old school, it was the very best girls who had been studying en pointe and were very good dancers. Awesome!

    And Fiona's Clara! Wow!! I am so excited for her. I have so many questions to ask- what does the costume look like? How does the part differ in your company? Will she wear her hair down? Does Clara dance in the second act? (In my grandfather's production, based off the Royal Ballet, Clara comes out and dances with the different sweets in Act II. In my production, she sits on a dais and watches.)

    You two are going to have so much fun. You'll have to take tons of photos and see if you can buy a video of the production.

    When is your performance?

    Break a leg!


  3. Kaya says:

    Hi Makennah! We made chocolate chip, and they tasted great! ;-)

    Our company doesn't have Clown Mother and Hot Cocoa kids. It sounds a little like Mother Ginger and the Polichinelles? We do have those. They're dancers, though, not acrobats.

    Happy birthday, by the way! :-D

    Thanks for the well-wishes for Nutcracker!


  4. Kaya says:

    Hi Inky! We were hoping you'd stop by and comment, since you're involved in Nutcracker in NYC. It's fun to (sort of) be in the same show.

    I'm really excited about the dances I'm in, especially Flowers! We don't really have adults in our company, so here it's usually just teenagers in it. It's still an honour to be chosen, though. I think I'm the youngest one in it. Good thing I'm on the tall side for my age.

    They're getting new costumes for Waltz of the Flowers this year, so that'll be a surprise for me!

    I'll do my best to answer all your questions. Fiona has gone to bed, so she can't weigh in herself. I'm sure she'll correct me if I get stuff wrong.

    Her main costume is a nightgown (sort of like Samantha's from American Girl,) pink tights, and pink ballet slippers.

    For the party scene, she wears a silky bodice and full skirt over it, with the top of the nightgown showing underneath so it looks like it's her shirt. She also wears white pantalettes for that scene that just barely poke out from under the skirt.

    When the party scene is over, she pulls off the extra stuff in Quick Change so it's just the nightgown base.

    Once she gets to the Kingdom of Sweets, she also gets a spiffy cape and crown to wear, because she becomes like the temporary princess.

    Her hair will be mostly down, but the front part is pulled back into a ponytail with a ribbon bow so it doesn't fall in her face. They use rollers and hair spray before the show so it'll be a little bit curly. The other Clara has natural curls so they probably won't do anything to hers besides pull it back and put in a ribbon.

    She dances a little bit in the second act but not the whole time. She dances briefly with the SPF Attendants when she first enters during our dance, then with a few members of the court, and finally with the angels who bring her cape and crown, then she goes to the dais. She stays on the wooden throne thing with the prince for most of the act, and then at the end she dances a short little pas de deux with him. So... sort of in between the two you described, I guess?

    I'm really excited! Hopefully we can get good pictures and a video! :-)

    Performances start on the 9th of December and go till the 18th, which is basically two weekends and the week in between, but the Monday and Tuesday are dark and the Wednesday and Thursday are only matinees, so that's not as exhausting as it sounds. Still, I bet we'll be ready for a break by the end!


  5. woohoo, congratulations to the both of you!

  6. Yeahhhhhhh .. for both of you .. we are all so proud of you. How wonderfully exciting and it sounds like you are going to have so much fun and lots of kewl costumes and stuff to wear.

    I bet you will both love it and yet be ready for it to be over at the end of it. I think it is good that they have two girls to do the younger main character, it would be so tiring for the little ones. Tell Fiona Congrats and not to listen to the mean girl. Enjoy her part and have tons of fun.

    We understand the bipolar hardness around here, Mama, Kelsyee and I have bipolar. Nana, sisters, and cousins sometimes put up with a lot of craziness when we are up or down, so we understand and tell Fiona to hold her head high and ignore what that girls says, she has tons of friends who love her ..

    We Love You All,
    Taryn & Family

  7. Kaya says:

    Thanks, Taryn and Family! We're really excited!

    Rehearsals have started, and it's hard work - but it's going well. We'll be ready for a break when the time comes, but for now it's fun.

    Fiona says thanks for understanding and being supportive. She's glad she has lots of loving friends. Most of the kids are being nice and are really proud of her, so she won't let one bad egg ruin it.


  8. Wow, congratulations Kaya and Fiona! :) Tchaikovsky is one of my favorite classical composers, and I love the music from "The Nutcracker"! My favorite piece has to be "Pas de Deux". It's so beautiful that I almost want to cry every time I hear it. :) Maggie thinks I'm overly sentimental, but I'm always just so moved by beautiful music! I've been that way for as long as I can remember.

    I've never been involved in any sort of ballet production (and probably never will be...I'm horribly uncoordinated!). ;) It's amazing how much goes into one of those productions! I've never actually been fortunate enough to see "The Nutcracker". One of Mama's daughter's friends is going to be in a local production this year, so Mama is going to try to take her daughter to see it. Maybe I'll be able to tag along, too! :D

    Again, congratulations to both of you. And Fiona, I can only imagine what you must be going through with the cranky understudy. Please try to ignore her unkind words and just try to enjoy giving pleasure to everyone watching your talented dancing. We're all rooting for you! :)


  9. Kaya says:

    Hi, Tess! Thanks for the congrats - and Fiona says thanks, too. Like, she actually looked up from the puzzle she's working on, and said, "Tell Tess I said thanks too," so I did. ;-)

    I love the Pas de Deux too. Maybe someday when I have a lot more experience, I'll get to dance it.

    I know what you mean about music being moving. I feel the same way about some music - especially music from ballets, because it has so many fun and nostalgic and occasionally sad associations. So yeah, I get it. :-)

    You should give ballet a try. A lot of dancers are very clumsy and uncoordinated everywhere but on stage or in the dance studio.

    Thanks for the well-wishes! Rehearsals are intense but going well!


  10. Congrats on the parts, girls! Please update us with how the show goes!

  11. Kaya says:

    Thanks, Sabine! We'll keep you posted. :-)