Behind The Stage Secrets At The Nutcracker
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Behind The Stage Secrets At The Nutcracker

There's more to a show than bright smiles and pretty lights

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Behind The Stage Secrets At The Nutcracker
Mike Strong Photography; American Youth Ballet

There is more to a show than what it would seem, beyond the stage.

Auditions. Where it all begins. Everyone nervously performing and perfecting dances and choreography in hopes to get cast in their dream role. What you may not know is how hard one wishes for a part, and how hard they work to get it.

Once the cast list comes out, it's a new game. Everyone rushes to the door, peeking their heads around, trying to find their own little space to read their parts. Some beaming from ear to ear, others try to hold back their excitement. No matter what, you accept what you got, and begin to prepare for the hard work ahead.

Nutracker season begins once the casts are all set and rehearsals begin. Dancing about 30 hours a week may seem excessive, but that's what it takes to make a good show: practice. From October to December, dancers work extremely hard on perfecting their roles and ensuring precision in their choreography. The best part is getting to spice up the dances with your own attitude on how you think your character should be played.

Show week! Just in time for finals as well, most dancers start going into the theatre as their semester exams begin. Putting it out of their minds, they focus on the task ahead and the magic begins. Tech rehearsals and dress rehearsals signify the show drawing near. Finishing touches are placed with every little detail considered. The director strictly lays notes upon notes for the dancers to resolve.

The day of the show. The most magical of them all. Performing transforms the whole theatre into a space where the angels walk on cotton-candy clouds and the audience is brought across the world. Enrapturing the sweet blue eyes of a little blonde, she is enveloped into the Land of Sweets, dreaming to be Sugar Plum Fairy some day. The magic comes not from the scenery itself, but what lies within. The dancers pour out their souls so that the audience may feel the devotion.

Once those last lights come up for bows, and the red curtain flows to the floor, the trance breaks. It's over, but something seems different now. Perhaps something has changed, within their hearts. Everyone walks away just a little more inspired and changed from before.

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