It's somewhat disorienting to hear the Dance of the Snowflakes in the studio in late September.
Maybe it's the fact that summer still hangs in the air and clings to our leotards like toe tape. Nutcracker auditions arrive bitter and sweet. With them come the sad goodbyes to our relaxing weekends and solemn commitments to attend technique classes every evening. The weeks following auditions are tense and lunch discussions are full of casting predictions.
Finally, the Friday came when we were summoned into a "pow wow." Abra Rudisill, artistic director of the Alameda Civic Ballet, sat comfortably on her balance ball chair. "I'd like you girls to hear what our thought process is when casting everyone..." she began. We looked at each othe like she'd just asked us to complete ten fouettes ending in a double tour.
After an hour of discussion, our parts were announced. Going into the pow wow I had no expectations for my casting and with the announcement that I would be Clara again came a rush of excitement. The thing is, Clara involves a great deal of sitting and looking pretty. But the fact of the matter is that pointing your toes for an hour and maintaining a smile on your face is much harder than it looks.
Since last Nutcracker, Clara has seemed to follow me like a shadow and in many ways we have become one with each other. Another year together will only make our relationship stronger than ever. For the next few months, in particular, Clara will be the one wandering Park Street with her friends on Friday nights, and Isabel Lovegrove will be no where to be found...