On Saturday, my friend Candy and I took our sons to see Butler University's production of The Nutcracker. I took six years of ballet lessons as a child so I grew up with a great appreciation of this ballet. The combination of the familiar music and holiday theme has made it one of my favorite ballets.
I saw The Nutcracker for the first time in Chicago when I was in third grade and I spent a week with my aunt and uncle who lived in Evanston. When I was in seventh grade, my mom and I started a tradition of seeing the annual production by the Fort Wayne Ballet. I would always invite a friend or two and by the time I was a senior in high school, there was a group of 13 of us going. When I went away to college, I wasn't able to go every year but I have gotten to catch a performance every few years.
And this year, I took Nicklas to see it. He and Carter seemed to enjoy it. They really liked the first act - especially the fight with the mice. (Although Nicklas said he was a little freaked out by the mice costumes.) And although they got a little antsy during the second act, I think they'll want to go again next year.
Although I enjoy Butler's version of The Nutcracker, I think I'll always be partial to Fort Wayne's production. The party at the von Stahlbaum's is much livelier, the solo's are more difficult, and I enjoy the celebration dances from the countries (especially the Arabian one!) much more. Of course, it's been 16 years since I've sent the Fort Wayne Ballet production so it's possible the starry eyed visions I remember as an 17-year-old aren't quite up to par with reality. In any case, I still thoroughly enjoy the show and I look forward to starting a new tradition with my children.