nutcracker survivial tips

'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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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.


It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.


Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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5 Things I'm Going To Do To Better Myself This Summer

Every summer I tell myself that I'm going to make a change, but this summer is when I'm finally going to do it.


After years and years of telling myself that I was going to have a summer "transformation", I finally committed myself to it this summer. This school year was a bit rough to say the least. I was sick for six months, in the hospital for a few weeks, my identity was stolen, and I was ghosted by eight different guys... Yeah, you heard me. Eight. So as you can see, my year was a bit shitty. But it took all of that to finally make me buckle down and want to make a change in my life. It's about time that I focus on my mental and physical health and I've never been more ready. Here are 5 of the things I'm going to do this summer to better myself:

1. Kick box

Last summer I started kick-boxing and it is one of the hardest workouts I've completed. Not only was I in the best shape of my life for a couple months last summer, but it also improved my mental health drastically. It gave me an outlet to channel all of my negative energy whether it was in the heat of the moment or if it had building up inside me for months. After the tragedies of this school year, I am more than ready to get back into the gym and get all of my energy out. Not only will I be in great shape again, but my mental health is sure to get back on track in no time.

2.  Practice yoga

Over the years I have dabbled in yoga, but this summer I really want to focus on my practice. I've considered buying a yoga membership but those can get quite expensive, so I'm going to resort to YouTube to practice yoga about 5 times a week. This will not only improve my mental health but also improve my physical health and give me some designated time each day to devote to working on myself in all aspects.

3. Paint and draw

In the past, painting and drawing has been another outlet that I've channeled my bottled up energy. Whenever I've gone through a breakup or had a falling out with a friend, I painted and used my emotion to inspire art from the root of my feelings. The art that I produce when I'm feeling down is some of the best artwork that I create, but if I get in the regular practice of painting, I will have another outlet to channel my energy and focus on the promotion of creativity and mental health. Not to mention, I might have some really cute room decor by the end of the summer.

4. Write

Now I am a writing major, but sometimes I find myself in a rut. However, whenever I get ghosted or whenever I feel self conscious I am completely inspired. I am full of words and thoughts and feelings and there is no better way to channel those thoughts than by putting them down on paper. Getting those thoughts out and making them tangible is a great way to relieve stress and promote good mental health and I plan to focus on that this summer. This will help me to better myself, but also will allow me to enlarge my portfolio, helping me develop professionally in the process.

5. Go to therapy

Last summer I attended therapy quite regularly in the month of August due to my binge eating being at its worst, but I wish I'd attended therapy all summer to help keep things in regulation. This summer I plan to attend therapy every other week, not due to any particular reason, but rather to practice good mental health on a biweekly basis and to be prepared in case of a flare up or an unexpected event. Going to therapy is perfectly normal and healthy and is quite beneficial when it comes to improving mental health and self awareness. I plan to really tackle this this summer in order to ensure a mentally healthy summer and the start of a healthy and happy school year next fall.

I know it's hard to buckle down and tell yourself that you're going to make a change, but I highly encourage you to try it this summer. Even if you only last a week, you still dedicated a week to trying to better yourself and that says a lot. Try kick-boxing or yoga or painting or whatever helps you focus and channel your energy. Even if it's a small start, it's better than nothing, and I guarantee you'll be thanking yourself at the end of the summer.

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