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Nutcracker's Not For Sissies

Maddie’s deep into her first
Nutcracker experience, and all I can say is – help. Is it
over yet?

I help out backstage in the holding room for Maddie and about
twenty (20!) other girls her age. Try controlling two dozen
six-year-olds in white (white!) dresses and red (red!) lipstick.
They’re bored, they don’t want to pee when you tell
them to, they only want to eat a snack after they put on their
costumes – they’re natural divas.

We’ve been manfully struggling
through, and Maddie’s having a pretty great time, a
magnificent cold and a pinkeye relapse notwithstanding.

But there’s a limit to how much a six-year-old can take, and
I worry we’re going to hit that place soon. The girls had a
one-hour-fifteen-minute rehearsal yesterday on the stage, and they
spent one hour holding still and fifteen minutes practicing their
seventy-second dance. One time through. The entire hour before that
was spent rehearsing the teenagers in the bits leading up to the
little girls.

My group of girls did great, and I’m hugely proud of them.
But even they noticed that their time was not, um, well spent. As I
got into the car with Maddie and her friend Becca, Becca commented,
“You know, Miss Jennifer, the big girls took a really long
time practicing their parts and we only had to go through our part
one time. They need to take most of the big roles away from the big
girls and give them to the little kids instead; the rehearsals
would go a lot quicker.”

That, my friends, is a Nutcracker I’d like to see.


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