The Nutcracker


Blog | December 7, 2011 | By

My daughter Tori performed in The Nutcracker every Christmas starting when she was just 5 years old. That first year she was an angel and I still remember the beginning of what became an annual tradition in our house.  It wasn’t Christmas until I was driving my little ballerina back and forth to auditions, rehearsals and finally the actual performances.

Auditions began in October and every year there was a coveted role that she just had to have.  After her 1st performance as an angel she was thrilled to nail the role of the “white mouse” the following year. I still have a white mouse ornament that I bought that Christmas and my stomach does a little flip flop every year when I pull it out and place it on my Christmas tree. Her favorite role as a young child was as one of the party children in the drawing room scene. I can still see her dancing around the parlor with a head full of bouncing ringlets, grinning from ear to ear.

 In later years when she was “en pointe” (her little feet crammed into tortuous toe shoes), the roles progressed to Reed Pipe, Waltz of the Flowers and my all time favorite, The Dance of The Snow Queen with her shimmering little Snowflakes. I still remember sitting in the audience with the hair standing up on my arms and tears in my eyes watching those beautiful girls glide across the stage with the snowflakes falling from the rafters. I will never, ever forget how proud I was of my daughter.

Then there was the year that Mrs. Tuzer allowed the dancers to greet audience members in the lobby after a special charity performance. I stood back in the corner and watched Tori signing her “autograph” for star struck young girls who wanted nothing more than to touch the glistening tutu’s that they were seeing up close for the very first time. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it now.

And there were many years that I worked the bake sales and volunteered as a room mother, always careful to apply makeup with careful precision, glue on eyelashes and slick ballerina hair with vats of Dippity Doo until I was sure that not a single hair would move an inch. I spent hours sewing ribbons on pointe shoes, coating foot blisters with gel pads and making endless trips to the dance store for yet another pair of fresh tights. I loved every single minute of it.

There were many rituals that started over the 12 years that Tori danced in The Nutcracker. For the first few years when she was still little we had a tradition of going  to The Crescent Hotel in Dallas for “Afternoon Tea”after the Saturday matinee performance.  And only the two of us knew our special route home at night that took us through our favorite Christmas light displays. We played endless hours of Christmas music in the car as we drove back and forth from Richardson to Dallas and I always wired a Christmas wreath to the front of my minivan just to make sure we were properly festive. 

And, I’m not ashamed to admit that yes, I had not one but several “Christmas Sweaters”.  I can’t believe I’m even saying that. In my defense, it was the fashionable thing to wear if you were a suburban mom like me.  The practice of wearing Christmas garb was horrifyingly acceptable. I can still close my eyes and see us screaming down Central Expressway looking like Christmas on steroids.

My mother was there to see her granddaughter perform each and every year until we lost her to breast cancer in 2002. She would always arrive in Dallas with a special gift for Tori to commemorate the event. This year Tori is too far away to accompany me to The Nutcracker, she won’t be home from Hawaii until late December. But her sister is coming home this weekend and Jacqueline will be my date this Sunday afternoon.  I can hardly wait! We will play my Tchaikovsky CD in the car and listen to it the entire way there. It won’t really be Christmas until I see The Sugar Plum Fairy in her exquisite pink tutu.  And although I will definitely dress up just a tad, I will spare the world of any further Christmas attire. It’s very fortunate that I gave up those Christmas sweaters along with my shoulder pads and Keds tennis shoes.

It’s not too late to get your tickets! If you’re lucky enough to have a little girl in your life, take her to the ballet this year and make some memories that will last a life time.

Merry Christmas everyone,


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  1. Leave a Reply

    Lisa McBride
    December 18, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. My oldest daughter, Lauren danced in Nutcracker for 11 years. Turning 19 tomorrow, my youngest, Betsy, is still dancing and currently is in her 5th season with Texas Ballet Theater dancing in Ben Stevenson’s “The Nutcracker” as Sugar Plum Fairy, Lead Flower and other various roles. She is featured in the ads around town,TV etc. as “Clara” in the red and white dress which she performed her first season…I’m telling you about this because you suggested ballet and Tuzer when Lauren first started at 3 years old and hosted Betsy’s baby shower in Garland when we lived in Oakridge. Always the gracious hostess, you also presented me with a beautiful Christmas ornament to remember the occasion. As I place it on my tree each year I also remember how you called my new baby the “Betsy Doll” as she was such a cute baby…what a timeless and wonderful gift that ornament turned out to be! Thanks again for the memories and your beautiful website!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Barbara Lob
    December 4, 2011

    ok, chris bonney. you’re forcing me to get in the christmas spirit…..minus my crocheted christmas vest that had jingle bells strategically attached:) thanks for the memories.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Sandy Myers
    December 3, 2011

    What wonderful memories I have watching Tori and Caroline up on that stage. Breathtaking and beautiful dancers! Believe it or not, Sara was a ballerina for one season – the tallest candy cane on stage – tho she enjoyed it, determined it was not her “thing”. Thanks for the post!

  4. Leave a Reply

    December 2, 2011

    thanks mom that made my morning. love you

    • Leave a Reply

      December 2, 2011

      I love you too Victoria Anne, always and forever. Thank you for giving me the best memories that a mom could ever hope for!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Robbie Florance
    December 2, 2011

    As a Mom who also had a daughter dance in the Nutcracker often (although not as many years as Tori), this posting brought back so many memories both bad and very good! As you said, Nutcracker was a special time for those involved and I will never forget watching my daughter dance in the Tuzer Nutcracker. I will confess to having a Nutcracker music CD that is played along with Bing Crosby every Christmas season. It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember all those BEAUTIFUL ballerinas that I was fortunate to watch grow from Angles to Snowflakes!! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Chris! Enjoy the ballet with Jacque and keep those precious memories close! Love you much!!

    • Leave a Reply

      December 2, 2011

      It’s wonderful to have life long friends who were THERE, they lived it with you and we can enjoy those memories together. Can you believe we carted those 3 precious little “Nutcracker Angels” to and from Dallas so many times at such a young age? They were troopers and so were we!

  6. Leave a Reply

    Brittany Bonney
    December 2, 2011

    This is my favorite entry! I would love to get to go one year.

    • Leave a Reply

      December 2, 2011

      My wish is that you will have a daughter one day and it will be the highlight of my Christmas season to dress her up and take all of us to the ballet!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Dana Herin
    December 2, 2011

    The hairs stood up on my arms and tears filled my eyes reading your post. I remember just a few of you many trips to get new shoes or sew on the ribbons over your lunch hour. I am so thankful to have had the chance to see Tori dance in The Nutcracker. So beautiful. So regal. It is a wonderful memory I reflect on every Christmas season.

    • Leave a Reply

      December 4, 2011

      thank you Dana, I’m glad you were there too! And yes, you were an eye witness to what it took to get my ballerina dressed and on stage!:)

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