Each year, B bus carpoolers look forward to dancing in the Dance Place Nutcracker All Jazz’d Up — our glittery, jazzy all-ages production of the Nutcracker story that evokes Radio City, in an utterly fun-filled, beautifully chaotic, and inclusive format that incorporates all the styles of dance taught at the studio.
True to the spirit of a holiday that’s about the wonder and delight of childhood, this show gives our dancing kids the chance to show their stuff on a big stage, in a beautiful old-fashioned big theater, wearing all kinds of sparkling be-glittered costumes.
Kids start out as Snow Flurries and baby sugarplums, and each year they grow into new roles, from Mother Ginger Kids to Soldiers, Mice, Flowers, Snowflakes, and all the sweets. Part of the drill is that everyone helps out someone younger than they are, backstage with costumes and wings, and onstage, where middle-grade girls lead the 4- and 5-year-olds through the steps. As a Fufu (? don’t ask; I have no idea.) Snowflake, LHB was excited to have one of the Flurry-wrangling jobs this year.
GHB appeared as an Elf and a Daisy, and took part in the showstopping Marzipan number (video here). LHB was a tap-dancing Mouse, the aforementioned big girl Snowflake, and danced together with GHB and their buddies in Marzipan. Last year, they were thrilled to share a featured sibling role as the pair of Jesters brought to the party by Drosselmeyer (video here). Exciting and fun to see our other set of carpool twins take on Jesters this year!
Dance teachers extraordinaire Christine and Lauren somehow manage to pull this whole thing together; it truly is a Christmas miracle to see how much fun they have backstage every time — and Lauren even dances as a very saucy and fun Nutcracker.
In the wings, the dancers track the onstage action, and cheer loudly for each other — not just the soloists, but also when the groups pull off a showstopper.
When Nutcracker weekend arrives, it is epic. There are two performances; I like to sit in the audience on Saturday night — we dress up and bring flowers and other tributes for our dancers. GHB and LHB receive a pair of different nutcrackers every year. I can’t believe this was the SIXTH year.
The Chevalier Theater in Medford Square is a gracious and spacious Art Deco venue that adds to the excitement of the evening. On Sunday afternoon I volunteer as a backstage helper mom, which means getting to see some of the show from the wings, as we help kids with super-quick costume changes, and gather up costumes and accessories to be cleaned and packed away for next year.
We’ve also seen professional Nutcrackers — from Jose Mateo to the Commonwealth Ballet. This year we’re treating ourselves to both the Boston Ballet’s new production as well as the NYCB Nutcracker which we are set to see next week with our NY cousins when we make our highly-anticipated holiday visit to the Big Apple (!!).
The new Boston production, at the historic and magnificent Opera House, was exquisite. I know New York will be spectacular. But nothing compares to the magic of watching the kids waiting in the wings and shining onstage with their friends as they carry on the Jazz’d Up tradition. Merry Christmas, dancers — and parents — of carpool!