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The Nutcracker Queens

A winter storm moved through our area
Monday night, shutting down school for the day. Now, I’m not
a wimp and adore the outdoors, but our high temperature yesterday
was 16 degrees – with 45 mph winds on top of that. So we were
stuck indoors (though, to be fair, the girls begged to go out and
lasted nearly an hour in the back yard. With nary an adult by their
side, I might cowardly add.) for the day.

And what better way to pass the time than to put on a show?

Maddie and Cora decided to do, no surprise, the Nutcracker. Which
Cora and I had just danced start to finish the day before. But
yesterday the girls wanted to go full out, so we did costumes and

Hey, anything to take up more time.

We turned our library into the dressing
room, bringing their costumes downstairs. We organized all the
costumes on our spare hanging rack, and both girls packed their
theatre bags with the essentials – ballet shoes, hair brush,
stickers. That sort of thing. Each girl had half of the hanging
rack, with costumes (yes, plural) organized in order of use. Their
play dressing table was brought in as well, and the girls took turn
putting on pretend make-up – on each other, on herself, it
really didn’t matter. Then they sat around chatting in their
robes, which is apparently part of the process too.

The girls organized the living room as the stage, using one of the
couches as the prop table, holding fans, Nutcracker dolls, swords,
etc. Maddie set several Barbies in a semi-circle against the back
wall to simulate all the presents under the tree, and we were ready
to go.

The curtain came up on Cora playing Clara, my mom playing Fritz her
brother, Maddie playing the mother, and me guest-appearing as Herr
Drosselmayer. Cora insisted I wear a cape and I was stuck wearing
her sequin-covered rock-star cape.

I looked unique.

Most of the first act went fairly well. My mother was appropriately
feisty as Fritz; Maddie was predictably bossy as the mother. When
the party ended, Cora ran to change into her nightgown for the rest
of the act, while Maddie scurried into her Nutcracker Prince
ensemble – using her faux-leather leggings as her bottoms.
Rock-star Prince. Mom turned into the rat king, while I operated
the video camera.

The battle was magnificent, though Cora got confused and threw her
ballet slipper at the prince rather than at the Rat King. But the
prince prevailed and that darn Rat King was finally defeated. Both
girls flew to quickly change into their Snow costumes, and the
first act ended with a bang.

We took a break to re-set and rest up and gird our loins for the
second act. Cora climbed on her snack stool and said,
“Ballerinas always eat cookies before the second act.”
Not any I know, but whatever.

The second act just about did me in, with the numerous costume
changes. Cora started out as Sugarplum while Maddie was ready as
Spanish. Then both changed for Chinese, Maddie did Arabian, then
both did Russian and Marzipan. Maddie changed to be Dewdrop in
Waltz of the Flowers while Cora was a demi-soloist in it as the
Lilac Fairy. Finally, the whole dang thing was over, and I
applauded thankfully.

I’m not saying it wasn’t fun – it was. And it was
better than watching television or something. But it got dragged
out over a good four hours, and by the end the two prima ballerinas
were touchy and argumentative – “Maddie, it’s
time for my s pin! Get off center stage!” and I was sick of
changing their costumes.

As the girls got ready for bed, Maddie said, “That was great.
Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

Yeah, great. School’s out again today, and we’ve got
the heap of costumes waiting for them. Maybe a movie or two
isn’t such a bad idea.


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