'Make Sure You Stay Warm,' And 9 More Tips And Tricks For Surviving This 'Nutcracker' Season

'Make Sure You Stay Warm,' And 9 More Tips And Tricks For Surviving This 'Nutcracker' Season

Like an unofficial rite of passage, "Nutcracker" season initiates new company members into the heart of life as a dancer.


It's that time of year again! Nutcracker. And if I am being honest, as a dancer (and later on as a behind the scenes), one of my favorite (and busiest) times of the year.

"Nutcracker" may be an almost universal holiday staple, punctuating the Ballet year, strung like fairy lights all across the December calendar.

But as dancers, we know "Nutcracker" in a very different way. The time of year where every little ballerina dreams of eventually being cast as the "Sugar Plum Fairy" or "Clara." The time of year that you go through the most pairs of pointe shoes. But most importantly, the time of year that is your favorite.

So whether you are (or were) a seasoned nutcracker participant, such as myself or new to the scene, here are ten tips and tricks for surviving this "Nutcracker" season.

1. Be prepared

Things can sometimes become a little hectic (especially if your trying to get multiple people ready and out the door at once) so maybe try and get everything that you'll need, whether it's for rehearsals, dress rehearsals or the actual performance.

2. Gather all costumes you need

When you get to the theater (depending on your company), gather all of your costumes that you'll need for that day's (or night's) performance. Some companies have a system set that lets you know what specific costume to get (numbers or otherwise). If you are not a company member, chances are the costumes may already be at your designated spot.

3. Be happy with (and embrace) the part(s) you get

I was a rat (in scene 2) for about three years before I got another part and because of that, not only was it (and still remains) one of my favorite parts but I was able to later assist in those rehearsals because I knew the part so well.

4. Make sure you are warm

Whether it's warmup class on stage an hour before and/or doing some basic exercises before going on to ensure you are still warm as well as ensuring you are able to avoid possible injury. And whatever you do, DON'T SKIP WARM UP!

5. Put every ounce of effort in your last performance as you did for your first

Perform for that little girl out there watching with dreams of becoming a ballerina like you or that little boy who watches and decides he'd rather be around all the dancing girls instead of those football players. Perform for the people that this is their first time (or only time) being exposed to the beauty that is dance. And finally, perform for you.

6. Apply your notes

Often times after a performance someone will hang up notes in the dressing room or you'll be called into the theater after a dress rehearsal to listen to notes. One of the best ways to improve your performance is to take these notes and apply them to it.

7. Try not to stress about a quick change

Quick change. It's something you'll most likely be doing multiple times through out your career as a dancer, so try not to stress. Chances are you'll be able to go through it (in practices or rehearsals) and have a fairly good idea of how much time you have to do it in, whether that's 30 seconds (and yes that can happen!) or 2 minutes. Don't stress, because the people that are helping you through it are probably already experts at it and if you stress, it could make the change not go smoothly.

8. Stay healthy

Eat well, get as much sleep as possible, hydrate, all the stuff you're told to do anyways but multiply it by 10 and then some. Many times you're in rehearsal day and day out and don't have much time for anything else (but that's ok because there's nothing else you would rather do).

9. Be present and in the moment

Because before you know it, time will pass by and you'll be on your very last performance before you know it.

10. And last but not least, enjoy it!

Have fun, after all that's what preforming is all about. And cherish the friendships that you make, many will last a lifetime.

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.


Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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To The Stressed Out College Student, Be Optimistic For Spring Quarter

I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter.


As a strenuous ten weeks of winter quarter is finally coming to a close, there is no better feeling than to be rewarded with a week of spring break. For most colleges and universities, this period of time is one of excitement and relief, as students approach a summer vacation that begins in May. Yet, for students with schedules revolving around the lovable (and often hatable) quarter system, it feels as though summer is far from our reach.

On a personal note, my previous ten weeks of classes have been bearable at best. I can proudly say that I have been counting down the days until spring break since our winter quarter began in January, though now that the week is finally approaching, I am reminded by the fact that I have yet another ten weeks of school in the near future. Interestingly enough, I have not started the countdown to June 18th quite yet. Instead, I am looking forward to a productive spring quarter that will leave me feeling energized and accomplished as I enter into a fresh summer.

I believe that the spring quarter withholds a sense of refreshment and newfound energy in comparison to that of fall and winter. Though students on the quarter system will end classes later than others, there is something to be said for spending days on campus when the warm weather finally breaks. Time seems to pass faster than it did in the dark and ominous weeks of winter quarter, and everyone seems to have a more positive attitude - as we can all see that vacation is approaching.

To the stressed out college student, be optimistic for spring quarter. Though tests and finals will still be ever-present, the completion of another ten weeks of classes is excellent motivation to achieve success and reward yourself within the coming months.

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