Today I took my youngest daughter to see the Nutcracker Ballet for her first time. She was focused on the dancing, but I was focused on Clara. Clara is relegated to her little throne in The Land of Sweets for most of the second act, with nothing to do but watch the ballet and listen to the music. She may smile graciously and applaud delicately like a princess, but you know her mind is buzzing around like a bee in a flower garden.
When the Nutcracker Princes crowns her, Clara smiles serenely, but she’s thinking, “They’ll never believe this at school.” Later as she reaches to adjust the glittering crown, she mutters, “This crown is killing me. But I’ll bet it looks awesome.”
As the Nutcracker Prince dances for Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara watches with wide eyes. “Forget Team Jacob or Team Edward. I’m on Team Nutcracker Prince now.” Then she remembers her horrid little brother and a smirk plays across her face (it’s quickly masked by a gracious smile), “I think I’ll have Nutcracker Prince dance on Fritz’s face when we get back.”
Clara watches the Sugar Plum Fairy with annoyance— “That Sugar Plum Fairy is such a show off. But her tutu is to die for.”— before her attention is captured by the Arabian dancers (actually, just the male dancer). “Who is that? Hmmm, I think I want to meet him.”
She eagerly awaits the end of the performance, until she realizes the Nutcracker is dancing the Pas de Deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Clara’s smile wavers. “Why is he dancing with her? He never looked at me that way. Hey, where’s his head?”
Clara is filled with bitter fury. “It’s not fair. I loved him when he was an ugly little nutcracker.”
As the ballet draws to an end Clara smiles and waves, graciously accepting the Nutcracker Prince’s hand and the bows and curtsies of the dancers. But you know when the curtain closes there will be hell to pay.
Originally posted 12/11