The Family Tradition of the Nutcracker
Nutcracker-The Traditions of this Season
The holiday season is finally upon us. Children are making their lists, parents are pulling down boxes from attics full of decorations and lights that will illuminate their home in ways that make you stand back and admire, stores are bustling with sales. It’s different in each home. Hanukkah candles or a nativity scene may adorn your mantle, perhaps Santa Clause and your Elf on the Shelf is on full display in your home. No matter what, it’s Christmas time.
And if you haven’t figured it out, it’s my MOST favorite season of all. There is something about the smell of pine cones, the hot chocolate, the sparkling lights, the fact that the world becomes a little more jolly. I relish in this season every year and in my family, this season is rich in tradition.
It started when I was a little girl. My father passed away when I was 8, so my mom was charged with the care and upbringing of all of us. And boy she didn’t disappoint. When it came down to Christmas, we had the freshest, biggest, fattest tree that would shed needles the size of small pencils! The décor was perfect. Every inch of that tree was covered. The smell of tamales filled the air as 13 of us living in an 816 square foot house, danced, sang, listen to my grandfather play the guitar and created memories to last us a lifetime. We didn’t know that in those moments, we were also creating traditions. Customs and beliefs that would be passed down from generation to generation.
Fast forward the years and here I am charged with trying to recreate the memories for my own children and passing down our traditions and customs to them. I am convinced my husband is a saint for dealing with me during Christmas. He would say for dealing with me at all!
We have Polar Express Night. Everything is planned in great detail. Right before they kids go to bed, Steve will blare the sound of a train and scream ALL ABOARD. They are issued their golden ticket, have it punched by the conductor and climb aboard his truck to go see lights. Hot chocolate and cookies are passed around, too many pictures are taken, we scream Merry Christmas to everyone we see. It’s my favorite tradition with them.
Then there is Nutcracker. The story of a girl who falls asleep, gets chased by the Rat King, saved by a handsome Nutcracker prince who gives her a tour of His magical world. My house is full of Nutcrackers. I can sleep to the soundtrack every night and the girls perform in some version every year for the past 9 years. A couple of years ago, ALL of us took the stage together as a family and performed in a Nutcracker production. It was one of the highlights of my life and quickly became our family tradition.
2 years ago, we sat at Jalapenos and I said “Let’s produce a Nutcracker”. Of course, Emily took it further and said, “Only if it is different from all of them. I want Bollywood, I want Latin, I want Krumping!” (Now she wants flying angels and you best believe, that woman will have flying angels one day).
The Pure Movement Nutcracker was born. An opportunity for everyone that walks into our studio to create and be a part of holiday memories rich in tradition. The beginning of something wonderful happened. Mrs. Caren said “I’ll write a script. Something original” Countless hours were spent coming up with a story that kept parts of the traditional Nutcracker but added “twists” in this new story. Mrs. Cristen jumped in and choreographed a beautiful production. Mrs. Emily transformed scenes to include Hula, Latin and made the Nutcracker Prince have Hip Hop swag! Amy Jo and Liz sprinkled the production with their ridiculous talent and I had the honor of helping produce my first show and have my visions listened to and brought to life. We produced our first Nutcracker, The story of Clara in 2017 on a small stage in the ballroom of a country club. I saw families walk out smiling, taking pictures by the tree, flowers handed to performers, TRADITIONS beginning. Our hearts were full and we wanted to give more!
So here we are, facing tech week in a new venue with over 80 performers not just from our studio, but from surrounding studios in the metroplex! I don’t want to give away too much…you have to see it yourself. What I can tell you is that it is bigger, better and even more beautiful. It is now called The Nutcracker Story: The Reason, the Season, & the Tradition. A whole new Act 1 full of songs that will have you clapping, smiling, and loving life adding Ms. Kaylee’s and Mr. Amir’s choreography and a few guest performances. Act 2 takes you into the Kingdom of Sweets where I promise you will recognize the traditional Nutcracker songs but with a twist. It is a show I am proud of and proud of being a part of.
Just the other day, I asked my grandmother “what do you want for Christmas”. She said “I’m old, I don’t need anything. I just want time spent with all of you.” Tears welled up in my eyes. Then and there is when I realized the importance of time spent, making memories with your family. Everything else falls away, but our memories are with us always.
We at Pure Movement want to be the vessel that helps each and every one of you make new memories and begin new traditions of your own with your family. If you are a performer, this may be the craziest, most tiring week of the year. This will become a tradition for you and soon you will be performing your last Nutcracker with us and you’ll look back at the pictures and it will be some of the best memories you made.
If you are a parent of a performer, this will feel like the craziest week of your life, but I PROMISE it will be worth it when you see them smiling and telling a story through movement. And soon, you will look back at pictures of your child wearing the tiny snowflake costume and look up and she’ll be the Arabian Queen!