|Thanks to balletnews.co.uk for this image|
Once upon a time - there was a small girl called L- - - - -, who was perhaps a little what they would nowadays call "hyperactive" and a very great chatterbox. She could always find something to talk about - so much so, that to her loving mummy - felt that the only time she stopped talking was when she was asleep - and she didn't seem to do a great deal of that!!
She was soon to be 4 years old - a small loving, dark-haired little girl - excitable, not very good at concentrating and completely unable NOT to talk!! This particular December - her birthday month, the Royal Ballet were dancing The Nutcracker in the big theatre in the city just 12 miles from her home - and as her mummy loved to go to the ballet - tickets were purchased for a Matinee performance when L- - - - celebrated her own special day the day before Christmas Eve.
Mummy - with Granny to accompany her took L- - - - off to the city for the day. A trip to the best Department store in town was planned for a visit to the Man in Red in his magical grotto - then lunch before the theatre outing. The slightly apprehensive adults found their seats as the small girl chattered incessantly - asking questions, exclaiming at the numbers of people in the seats ( did I mention the theatre was almost full - very few seats empty!!), bouncing about on her seat, excitement - always very close to the surface with L - - - - making her giddy; so that mummy and granny began to wonder if they had made a huge mistake bringing this excitable little girl to such an event!
But mummy wanted her to see not only the magic to be found in a theatre, at the ballet - but in this particular story - to mummy's mind one of the most magical Christmas tales. Slowly the house lights darkened - the theatre quietened and children everywher settled into their seats - all except L - - - -. who of course was bobbing up and down like a yo-yo - softly the dark space was filled with music as the orchestra's playing swelled into the opening notes of the overture.
L - - - -sat down abrubtly - silenced by the swelling music and the lights playing across the curtains on the stage as they slowly opened to reveal the beautiful, fantastical set that was everyone arriving at Clara's party. She sat transfixed as this delightful ballet played out in front of her - telling her the wonderful story of the enchanted Prince - Nutcracker - and Dr Drosselmeyer, and Clara and the Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairy - - particularly the Christmas Tree scene - it silenced her completely - - when it grew before her eyes to disappear into the top of the Proscenium arch.
Mummy was stunned - marvelling that this performance had lit "candle eyes"in her small daughter - the child sat totally still and completely silent up to the interval - when of course ice cream was enjoyed by all 3 - and also by the fact that L - - - - was waiting excited - but QUIET - and expectantly for the lights to go down again - to be silenced again and transported once more into the magical world of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.
We were never able to re create the magic of that afternoon - as the Ballet Company didn't return - but oh I am so glad they came that once - it is one of my most wonderful Christmas memories - and I never, ever hear any snippet of the Nutcracker Suite without being transported back in time to that afternoon - 30 years ago this year. I know if I lived anywhere near a place that performed that ballet every Christmas I would want to go - and make it a family outing Christmas tradition - if only to try to re capture the magic of that day - and I have never been able to forget her small face as the Christmas tree grew, and grew, and grew on that stage!
Thanks for dropping in
Bannaghtyn J xx