My niece Emma was 6 years old when I took her to see Pinkerton Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker,” at the Carson City Community Center.
It was exciting to get dressed up and go out together, feel the energy of the crowd at the ballet.
The anticipation built as the lights went down and the first dancers came out on the stage. Then Emma whispered, “Do they talk?”
My heart sunk. I hadn’t thought to explain to her it would be just dancing, no dialogue. I realized she was probably too young for such a production.
I explained to her there would be an intermission, like a halftime, and we could leave then if she didn’t like it. When the lights went up, she asked, “Is this halftime.”
“Yes,” I told her. I asked if she was ready to go.
“No,” she said, almost breathless. “I love it.”
That’s the moment I realized at 6 years old, she was more sophisticated than me, and also I witnessed the magic of “The Nutcracker.” For the next few years, Emma danced in the ballet, which follows a little girl through a Christmas dream in which the Nutcracker comes to life.
The great news is it happens every year. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, you have a chance to check it out. Or it could be an annual tradition.
The 28th annual “The Nutcracker” ballet opens Thanksgiving weekend with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $22 for general admission and $18 for seniors and students.
The performance involves both professionals and area dancers.
“The Nutcracker” ballet is based on the book “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It tells the story of Clara, a girl who falls asleep after a Christmas party and has fantastic dreams. The ballet follows her as she travels the world in her slumber.
As is tradition, Mother Gigogne is played by well-known men in the community. On Friday and Saturday, the role will be played by dance instructors Dino Elias and Jake Beck, respectively. On Sunday, Sheriff Ken Furlong will reprise the role for his seventh year.
“He is very entertaining,” said Molly Walt, president of the ballet company’s board. “He’s just full of life up there.”
For tickets or for more information, go to pinkertonballet.com.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.