Bubblegum Chic welcomes the lovely Tara Agne as this week’s guest contributor. Read on to see how you can be entered to win a quarter of lessons at the Wilmington Ballet Academy of Dance and a $100 gift certificate to Two Sisters or Oranges and Lemons. Just post a comment with your seat number.
The first time I saw the Nutcracker ballet, I was five years old. It was in some unremarkable theatre near one of the Army bases where my father was stationed, but I still remember the thrill that shot through my little body as I heard the first bars of Tchaikovsky’s music. As a first ballet does for many little girls, the Nutcracker stirred my dreams of becoming a ballerina. My heart held fast to my desire to be a dancer, but my focus and commitment were another story. Because I was an Army brat, moved too frequently to different towns with different dance teachers and studios to really develop good technique. Once I became a teenager, far more amusing diversions cut short my discipline for ballet.
When my first daughter was born my ballerina dreams re-emerged. Having an active toddler, and a lot of time on my hands, I signed her up for her first ballet class soon after she was able to walk without tripping over herself. Perhaps I hoped that ballet would provide her the grace to walk without tripping and scraping her little knees.
We bought our first pink leotard and ballet shoes and we were off! The first few classes were a little bumpy. How does one still the three year old who never stops moving and topples in a strong wind long enough to allow her to place her chubby little feet into five precise positions, while also coordinating her flailing arms? Once the wands and ribbon strands came out, and she was allowed to move freely around the room, the little princess in her was hooked!
Was I in danger of becoming the parent trying to relive her own childhood fantasies through her kid? Perhaps, but man could she move.
Not long after that first ballet class, my daughter and I attended our first Nutcracker at the gorgeous duPont Theatre at the Hotel duPont – a big step up from that nondescript small town theater where I first saw the show. Although she was a wiggly toddler, once the music and dancing started, she was glued to her seat. She wanted to join right in the opening party scene and dance with girls in beautiful dresses with long skirts and ruffles.
She struggled to get up and punch Clara’s brother when he stole her beloved Nutcracker and broke it. She was eager to join the Nutcracker’s soldiers in their fight against the dreaded Mouse King. When the battle was finally over and Clara and the Prince entered the Land of Sweets, my daughter wanted to be the beautiful and graceful Sugar Plum Fairy who acted as Clara’s hostess to the land of enchantment. That was it! We knew her destiny was to dance on that stage.
It took a few more years of preschool dance, but eventually my little fair-haired girl enrolled at the ballet school where she would participate in the first of many Nutcrackers, the Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance. She became one of those party girls. She fought on both sides in the battle scene, first as a mouse and then as a soldier, and she was one of the lively Candy Canes who entertains Clara in the Land of Sweets.
As Mary’s sisters grew, they wanted to follow their big sister into the world of dance and onto the stage. They also performed in many Nutcrackers and were so proud to perform for our family and friends. The girls had the added treat of performing alongside dancers from the American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, who play the principal roles in the show. It was one of the best experiences of their young lives.
Although they each ultimately decided to pursue other activities as they grew older, they have carried their love of dance – and its many emotional and physical benefits – with them. And they never miss a chance to see their friends perform each Christmas at the DuPont Theatre.
As the parent of so many dancers (and for anyone who knows me, a compulsive volunteer), I felt compelled to become involved with the dance school, and I spent many Nutcracker performances as a backstage helper. I never set out to become a dance mom, but it is a title I learned to wear with pride – although I certainly hope I don’t live up to the reality television stereotypes.
The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance has been like a second home and family to my daughters for many years. It gave them a great group of friends that they would not have met in school; it gave them strength, discipline, and grace; and dancing on stage gave them a sense of purpose and self-confidence that I couldn’t imagine them getting anywhere else. Although my girls are not currently dancing, I like to think that they have accomplished their ballerina dreams. I know that watching them has put me at peace with my own ballerina dreams.
The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance is preparing for its 47th Annual Nutcracker (link) at the Dupont Theatre in the historic Hotel duPont on Saturday, December 20th at 2 pm and 7 pm and Sunday, December 21st at 2 pm and 6 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.
Bubblegumchic is thrilled to announce that local moms who email a screenshot or photo of their tickets to firstname.lastname@example.org will be entered to win a drawing for one semester of ballet lessons at The Wilmington Academy of Ballet and a 100$ gift certificate to Two Sisters or Oranges and Lemons, courtesy of Bubblegum Chic and The Wilmington Academy of Ballet.
So remember, to be entered to win one quarter of free ballet lessons and the $100 gift certificate to Oranges and Lemons or Two sisters send post a comment with your seat number.