Last night, KQED, our local public broadcasting station, aired San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker. It was awesome! It didn't hurt that we were watching in in HD! I saw their newest incarnation of The Nutcracker, inspired by the 1915 International Exposition, a few years ago. In fact, San Francisco Ballet was the first American company to perform a complete production in 1944. Seriously, it doesn't feel like the holidays unless I've seen The Nutcracker in some shape or form.
That being said, my holiday season was officially kicked off with Ballet Petit's production of The Nutcracker. In it's 30th year, Ballet Petit has the longest running Nutcracker in the East Bay. It's crazy for me to think that I have been around for 18 of them, having danced in eleven of those years!
Throughout the years I've seen dancers come in a little ones and move up the ranks into lovely young ballerinas. Ballet Petit's focus on classical ballet: the technique, the musicality, and the grace has truly helped shape these talented dancers. I remember when I was a little kid, sitting in the waiting area watching the "big girls" (ie older girls) do pirouettes and saute de chats across the room. I grew up and so has the studio. From a little backroom studio of four little dancers, it has expanded into a production of 200+ students. As dancers have come and gone in waves, the talent has continued to shine brightly through each production.
Sarah is one of those dancers. I remember when she was a little girl in the tiny kids' class. I always knew that she had a love of dance. What I didn't know was what an astounding dancer she would become. Seriously, this girl knocked my socks off! When Sarah evolved into the dancer that she is today, performing roles of the Sugarplum Fairy and Nikiya in La Bayadere, I was away at college. I never actually had the chance to see her perform. Well, as part of the 30th Anniversary Nutcracker, Ballet Petit alumni were invited back to perform. Sarah was invited to reprise her role as the Sugarplum Fairy, with Omar as her cavalier. Omar is one of the teachers at Ballet Petit as well as a former Principal Dancer with Ronn Guidi's Oakland Ballet. These two have such amazing dance chemistry that you just get sucked in watching them.
One word: breathtaking.
Here are a few shots from my view from back stage:
Thanks to Ballet Petit, Peggy Peabody, Darlene Brower, all the teachers, dancers and families as well as, the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.