Skip to content
home | things i like | the nutcracker

the nutcracker


    I took my boys to see Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker for the first time this year.

    me & the boys

    We went with a group of friends and cousins and it was the perfect way to start our Christmas season.


    I love this production – it is a classic Seattle tradition and the most delightful performance with happy music and whimsical sets designed by famed illustrator Maurice Sendak.  I could not wait to introduce this kind of art to my children.


    But this particular ballet is even more special to me because I danced in it when I was a young ballerina.


    {see my name? This program is from 1986 – when I was 8 years old and a shy little thing. This was a huge step for me to perform in front of such a large audience, but such an amazing experience.}

    My first year, I was a baby girl mouse.


    The second year, I was a servant child {I am in the center with my childhood ballet friends}


    The last year, I was a soldier.


    I know I am too old to dream of being a ballerina, but that childish dream is still within me.  I love everything there is about ballet. The grace. The music. The shoes.  I did not have the flexibility in my feet to continue dancing on pointe and my parents opted not to have my feet broken and reconstructed when I was just twelve, and so my days of ballet dancing with PNB were over. But these memories are a deep part of me and I was so thankful to be able to relive the excitement of the Nutcracker with my children.

    No. 1 was not so impressed. But he is almost 8 and it is getting harder and harder to impress him. Unless it has to do with Star Wars Legos or candy.


    No. 3 was maybe a little young at 4. He does love swords, though, so the mouse king was right up his alley.


    No. 2 was the best. He was wide-eyed through the whole show and even asked me at one point if he could be in the Nutcracker when he gets bigger. I said of course he could : but he would have to take ballet. He quickly changed his mind.


    Of course I want Audrey to be her own little lady, but there may be some encouragement from this mama to involve her in ballet.  Maybe one day she’ll dance in PNB’s Nutcracker.

    A girl can dream, right?

    If you are in the Seattle area and would like a great evening of entertainment, click here for ticket information.

    PNB made a Nutcracker movie years ago, which you can rent here.

    And this book has artwork by Maurice Sendak and tells the story of The Nutcracker.

    24 thoughts on “the nutcracker”

    1. Ultimately though, Grace said ballet is good for her and good for the world because, when you see a show like “The Nutcracker,” it’s hard not to be happy.

    2. How exciting that you danced in the Nutcracker! What’s even greater to me is that I was there in 1988 when you danced as a soldier in the opera house. So I was there even though we haven’t met! :) My husband and I went the year we got married and we have our dated mugs from the gift shop. :) We’ve since gone with our kids. PNB Nutcracker is so wonderful and the very best! I have the movie on my iPod! We live in Arlington now. Merry Christmas!

    3. Dear Emily,
      I certainly disagree with you that you are too old to be a ballerina again. What ever made you think that? Ballet is supposed to be fun and I’m so glad that I was blessed with a teacher who carried that out. One lady asked us once if our dances were “Jesus dances.” We said, “Yes, indeed they are.” That makes me smile. It amazes me how Jesus can speak through everything we do.
      I also believe that ballet is no more beautiful on point shoes then it is on split-soled shoes. For it is the smile and heart with which you dance that makes it truly beautiful.
      Merry Christmas!

    4. Loved this post…I too was in a production of the Nutcracker in San Jose, CA. I was a soldier and a gingerbread cookie and they are the best memories! We took our girls to the PNB Nutcracker a couple of years ago and though they loved the beginning our youngest fell asleep during the dance of the snowflakes! I adore your blog and love the way you share your life! Tammy

    5. Aww…this brings me back! I was in the Nutcracker several times as a little girl, too. It was such a wonderful experience. I’ve been in love with the Nutcracker forevervand I’ve seen this particular movie a million times. I too dream of being a ballerina still! It was a dream as a child, but now as an adult, I still love the idea! I have a 10-month old daughter and I will defintely be encouraging her to do ballet. If she’s anything like me, I think she will be in love. Thanks for sharing this!

    6. What fun timing to read this article – our oldest son (23) is taking his little twin sisters (12) to the Nutcracker this next week! They don’t know yet, it’s a surprise, ssshhhhhhhh! I wish I was going to see the looks of wonder on their faces. I went with my hubby the year we got engaged, 25 years ago, and loved it! And we took our oldest when he was little too…now he carries on the tradition. Love the holidays for this very reason…so many traditions and memories to savor for a lifetime. Your boys are so precious, reminds me of my three boys so close like stair steps…all grown up now at 23, 21, 18. Wonder if they will go with me still? Thanks for the walk down memory l;ane!

    7. oh, of course! It all makes sense now. All tall, lovely girls as gorgeous as you were ballerinas!

      your kiddos are simply precious. love these pics!

      {thanks for the book recommendation. LOVE maurice!}

    8. Oh how I can relate! We just went to Toronto to see the National Ballet at the 4 Seasons Centre and it was so lovely! I’m so excited this year because as an adult (41) I began ballet classes for the first time and beginning tomorrow will be preforming in The Nutcracker!! Ah! I am dancing as a dad in the opening scene and as a Gardener, which depending on the version would be the Bee in the Waltz of the flowers. My role is modest and quite small, according to my ability. But none the less…it’s still the Nutcracker and I’m so entirely excited. I’m telling you this to encourage you to find a class and do it again! It’s just so lovely to dance. In my head, I look like my instructor, in the mirror it’s a whole other story, but in my 40’s I just don’t care! I hope your able to make your dancing dreams come true again. My daugther is The Sugar Plum Fairy and I couldn’t be prouder. We’re looking so forward to 4 days of Nutcrackery! Thanks for posting this, you made me excited! :)

    9. Oh yes, a girl can always dream. What a special day for you and the boys!

      The photos are amazing!! My favorite shot is the dark one with the snow falling and the ballerina’s on stage…oh my gosh. It is stunning!! Just looking at it makes me want to be a ballerina too. Never lose your dreams, no matter how far off they might be…Wishing ya’ll a very magical Christmas!

    10. Thank you so much for posting the link to Amazon! I saw the PNB production about 10 years ago on our local PBS station. I wanted to borrow a copy through our library but they do not do VHS through interlibrary loan and that’s the only version available out there. So I’m happy to know that I can rent it through Amazon :)

    11. So fun! My husband and I took 2 (out of our 3) boys to the PNB Nutcracker this year for the first time as well. We read the story beforehand and my boys LOVED it!

      I just have to say that we have so many similarities. I was raised in Seattle (born in 1978 which I think you were to, if I calculated right), still live here in West Seattle. I have 3 boys (no baby girl though) and my oldest just turned 8, I also have a 5 year old and a 10 month old. So happy to see these sweet pictures of you and your sweet little men:)

    12. Ah, the Nutcracker. One of my very favorite Christmas traditions. I too danced as a girl, although I didn’t have the right “body type” to be a ballerina, so I was never in the Nutcracker. My daughter made her debut in a regional production of the Nutcracker two years ago as a gingerbread cookie. It made this mama so proud.
      Even though I couldn’t be a ballerina, I did have the opportunity to work for Ballet West for a few years in Marketing and PR, and I always loved Christmas time and their beautiful production of the Nutcracker. I would sit and watch it several times during the season, and for me, at least, it never lost its magic.

    13. This is probably my FAVORITE holiday thing. When I was younger I always wanted to dance in this ballet, although my turn-out wasn’t good enough for my ballet teacher to move me up to pointe so I quite. So I moved on to cheerleading. I now have a two year old son and cannot wait for him to be a little bigger to start taking him to the plays, especially this one; and my husband and I go back and forth on wanting another child (we want a boy and a girl) but since we cannot guarante a Girl for the second one we are hesitant to try again because TWO boys for us would just be crazy!!! I don’t know how you do it with THREE boys and ONE girl!!! I also wanted to say again that you are a true inspiration to me and I wish that we could be friends in “real life”.

    14. How fun! Your boys look absolutely adorable! I too was in The Nutcracker when I was little. I was an angel, and will always remember being in the same dressing room as the real dancers and being in complete aw of them :) I wish so badly I wouldn’t have given up on ballet as a little girl, it’s such a beautiful art.

    15. How wonderful! I think the Nutcracker is beautiful from the music to the dancing to the sets. I took a group of third graders to see it last year…it was a bit much for seventeen 8 year olds…if we had left at the intermission it would have been perfect. They were very much like your #1! Please encourage your daughter with ballet. One of my biggest regrets is quitting it so young.

    16. I took Chrislyn for the first time when she was 5 years old. We sat in the very last row on the main floor. When the music began, she stood and started conducting the orchestra. She stood for most of the performance. I don’t know where it came from. It remains as one of my favorite memories of her childhood.
      We won’t be attending this year. I look forward to the day we take Holland Grace to watch the magic! Thanks for sharing your visit! Your boys are so precious! They looked spectacular with their boutonnieres!
      Merry Christmastime, Emily!

    17. my madison danced with the atlanta ballet & performed in the nutcracker at the historic Fox theater. can i tell you those performances, dress rehearsals, finding out her part were some of my most favorite memories.
      i loved watching her dance.
      i remember the first time i took her to see the nutcracker she was mesmerized.
      thankfully now little one is dancing. she just found out last night that they were moving her to the pointe class!

      your little fellas are so handsome!!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *