Nutcracker Season!

By on November 2, 2016

Nutcracker can either be the most exciting time of the season or the most dreaded, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, you’ve probably performed The Nutcracker at least every year since you were five years old. The beautiful Tchaikovsky score quickly can turn into fingernails on a chalkboard for the seasoned dancer. I know when I go to my local Starbucks and they’re playing Nutcracker over the speakers it makes me want to pull my hair out. If you’re like me and you have come to hate Nutcracker, read my tips to get excited about this time of year once again!

Look at it with Childlike Enchantment

Do you remember the first time you performed in this ballet? I do! I was 10 years old and I was in the children’s cast of The Joffrey Ballet’s version. This was my first experience on a real professional stage, and my first time performing with a professional company. I will never forget how that excitement felt of my first rehearsal with the company, my first dress rehearsal, and my first time performing on the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. This experience is truly made me want to pursue ballet professionally. Whenever I get tired or feel ungrateful for my job, I remind myself of what the 10-year-old version of myself felt like around Nutcracker season. I also like to remember how enamored I was by the story, sets, and beauty of this ballet when I was a kid. Even snow scene, which for a corps dancer can get very uninvolving, is a beautiful and elegant scene. I picture what it felt like to play in the snow as a kid and it breathes new life into my dancing of this ballet that I’ve done over a hundred times.

Learn New Parts that You Haven’t Done Before

Since Nutcracker season comes around every year, it’s a great opportunity to learn new roles and maybe even perform them! Corps dancers often even get to perform the principal role of Clara! Since the directors know that everyone is so versed in the score and the ballet, it seems to give them more freedom to give people more opportunities. Even if you haven’t been assigned a new role, stand in the back and keep yourself occupied by learning something new!!

Get in the Christmas Spirit

If nothing else, The Nutcracker can remind you of the magic that you used to feel as a kid surrounding Christmas. Although unfortunately I don’t get as excited for Christmas as I once did, The Nutcracker always helps me get in the spirit of Christmas!

 

 

About Alexandra Pullen

Alexandra Pullen was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and was raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she began her initial ballet training at a local community center. Pullen studied at Dance Center Evanston, Evanston School of Ballet, and Chicago Ballet Arts, and the Ruth Page School of Dance, where she joined their company, the Civic Ballet of Chicago. She trained on scholarship at the Joffrey Academy of Ballet in Chicago under Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev. She toured with the Joffrey Trainees to perform as Clara in The Nutcracker Suite. She studied on scholarship at summer programs of the San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. In 2012, Pullen competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Chicago Semi-Finals and received a gold medal in the classical category and a silver medal in the contemporary category. She was a Finalist in New York City. In September 2012, Pullen was awarded the Shoot for Change Scholarship to attend the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, and joined ABT Studio Company two weeks later. Pullen joined ABT as an apprentice 2013 and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2014. With ABT, Pullen's rep included Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Ashton's The Dream, Manon, Cinderella, Gaite Parisienne, Les Sylphide, La Bayadere, and Twyla Tharp's Bach Partita. She toured ABT to destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Australia, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. This is her second season with Colorado Ballet.

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