(Please be sure to click on the picture!)
Not if you’re a ballet dancer in the Hilton Head Dance Theater’s annual Nutcracker Suite.
If you’re at all familiar with the Nutcracker Suite, you’ll know that the Mice appear early in the show, all done up with little spiky ears, pink noses, and tails on their tutus. They’re all under the age of five. There are usually many, many of them. Some run offstage as soon as they arrive, seeking comfort from their back-stage mothers; others take to the spotlight and have to be forcibly removed. Cameras click and families strain to see if they can identify their “mouse.” They can’t, but it doesn’t matter.
The Mice are wonderful. They put us in the Nutcracker mood.
We’ve had the pleasure of watching our own “mouse” morph into other, more glamorous, more taxing Nutcracker roles. Fittingly, and through hard work, training, and commitment she’ll dance the Sugar Plum Fairy pas-de-deux this year.
We’ve followed our dancer and her friends from Mice to English Crackers, Soldiers to Candy Canes, Marzipans to Flowers. We’ve watched them change, grow, take baby steps from ballet slippers to toe shoes, inch their way from the back of the stage to the front.
It’s a community they’ll never forget. Whether they continue their dancing or not, the value of their collective accomplishments through the years is a wonderful thing.
They might not understand that right this minute but it will all be there for them, some day, when they need it.
Photo courtesy of the South Jersey Ballet School