Is The Nutcracker a Christmas tradition for you, as it is for me?
Are you lucky enough to live in a large city with a professional dance company? Is a live performance of this ballet classic one of the things your soul can't live without every year, as it is for me?
I have a large collection of Nutcracker-themed Christmas ornaments, including a Clara, the Mouse King, a Sugarplum Fairy, some Snowflakes, some Waltz of the Flowers figures and a Harlequin doll. I'm always looking to add more.
Aside from writing and film, ballet is my truest passion. I studied ballet when I was a younger, uninjured version of me. When dancing myself was no longer an option, I was lucky enough to get a job as an usher at the theatre that was at that time the home of the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto.
For eight years, my Christmas season revolved around the performances of The Nutcracker, and I got to see so many wonderful behind-the-scenes aspects of what it means to be the Sugarplum Fairy in a production such as this.
For those of you who may already have your tickets for this year's performance, who may hum many of the pieces from the score by Tchaikovsky -- here is a backstage peek at one of the women who dons the famous tutu and tiara of the Sugarplum Fairy.
"The Nutcracker in many companies is the staple at Christmastime, and it's rare to come back to a role every year. So it's really nice to do the Sugarplum Fairy, because you get to revisit it so often. I've found a level of comfort where I feel like I can really enjoy telling the story."
Ruth Bartel, resident cutter in the National Ballet of Canada's wardrobe department, gives an in-depth look at how a tutu is built: "We build our costumes to last for twenty-five to thirty years...A tutu something like this, the Sugarplum, could be as much as thirty-five hundred dollars."
Heather Ogden is the featured Sugarplum Fairy in this piece.
Did you always wonder what it would feel like to be the Sugarplum Fairy?
Photo by Helen Tansey
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