As we piled into the car and navigated through the busy streets of downtown Jacksonville this afternoon, 5-year-old D asked something he’d been eager to ask for hours, “So, mom, why exactly do people want to watch people jumping around in ballet costumes anyway?”
Because it’s fun?
Because mom wants you to be cultured and appreciate the arts?
Because no Christmas is complete without a grand performance of the Nutcracker?
I’m not sure he’d agree with that, but I think that it’s great fun to watch a beloved story danced by talented dancers and taking the kids to the Nutcracker is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. A and B adored every moment of it, held captive by the magic of the moment and the powerful music. E sat like a blob, not thrilled to be there but not complaining either. D sighed and yawned loudly, shushed immediately by myself and his sisters. Okay, so maybe this will become a girls holiday tradition. Or maybe I’ll keep bringing him and hope that a little bit of society polish will rub off on him eventually. Plus, he’s 5. Until you’re old enough to watch yourself, you go where your mom takes you.
Last year we watched the professional ballet troupe perform the Nutcracker at the Times Union Center. This year we watched the community ballet perform at the Florida Theater. It was quite different but very fun. The theater was absolutely packed with kids, but they quieted down as soon as the lights dimmed and the music began. It was fun listening to them gasp, squeal, and laugh during the ballet. The dancers did great and the whole production went flawlessly. Although, I’m not sure what I think about those male dancers’ white tights. They were quite distracting.
We parked not too far from the theater and actually got to meet several of the dancers as we waited to pay our parking fare. They were parking too. The kids thought this was very cool! Our ballet experience today has totally reinvigorated A’s love for dance. She gave it up and went on to soccer instead, but is pouring over the program we picked up and looking for a dance school nearby. I asked her why and she said, “It’s just so beautiful. It makes my heart sing.”
Now THAT is the response I’m looking for. Those darn boys. I think next time I’ll snap a picture of their vacant, wide-eyed looks of boredom and give them the photo as a gift one day when their own daughters start dancing. “Why, yes, your father has always adored the ballet.”
Over all, this was one great field trip. It’s simply not Christmas without the Nutcracker ballet.