´¯`•. December 06, 2016

Our Adventures: The Nutcracker

It’s been a while since we saw ‘The Nutcracker’ done on stage.  Mostly because a few years ago, we went with the local homeschool group, and it was a bad experience.  GREAT ballet production, but bad experience.

First of all, I should state up-front that it was the Grand Rapids Ballet performing the world premier of Chris VanAllsburg’s version of ‘The Nutcracker’.  Grand Rapids is a seriously happening town, in case you didn’t know.  We’re home to Betsy DeVos (incoming Secretary of Education), to Gerald R. Ford, and to Chris VanAllsburg (<< the guy who wrote ‘Jumanji’, ‘Zarathusa’, and ‘The Polar Express’)  Because we’re his hometown, he chose to debut his ballet here.  It was AMAZING… the best I’ve ever seen in my life.

BUT.  It was a performance for educational purposes, which meant we were sandwiched in the middle of THE most obnoxious school kids, ever.  And it wasn’t even the whole ballet – it was a 30 minute exerpt of it… which left us hanging.  I guess when you’re only paying $5/ea…?  Anyhow, the homeschool group went two years in a row, but we skipped out, the second time.

Unbeknownst to me, another woman approached the group and said, “I know of a production of ‘The Nutcracker’ that’s whole and complete, for the same price.  Maybe you could share it with the other ladies?”  The activities director didn’t want attention taken from her event, apparently, and told her to get bent – the event was already scheduled… no other options would be allowed.  Which sucks.  But this year they have a new activities director, I’m assuming?


Because she said, “Go ahead and post it on Facebook.”  Well… that and they’re not going to ‘The Nutcracker’, this year.  It seems like there were sixteen different winter plays that everyone’s kids are in, that got thrown out there at the November meeting.  So it’s a free-for-all, this year.  Which works for me!

I saw Harmony’s posting, and signed up to go with her, right away.  It was for a performance in Lansing of the Capital City Ballet, and cost $5/each.  I was pretty geeked… I’d been wanting to get back to Lansing, and this was the opportunity!  So I called Brian and asked him to take the day, so we could go and do the Michigan History Museum, while we were there.  Make a whole family outing out of it.


There were actually only five ladies who signed up to go.  Maybe because Lansing is a little bit of a drive?  I’m not sure.  The only grumbly thing on our end was that we had to get up at the crack of 7am to get there, on time.  ((Go ahead, laugh.  We homeschool.   We sleep in – 7am is early to us.))  But the kids were pretty good about it, knowing it was for an adventure.

img_9029-444x391 I hadn’t realized that this was a children’s production.  Which made it even more impressive – the kids were ages six thru eighteen, who were dancing.  Very fun, for a winter production.  (Actually, just before we went to this, I found out about a local dance studio that does ‘The Nutcracker’ every year… another kids’ production.  I’m thinking maybe next year we can try that one?)

img_9032-442x444This gentleman has been directing this show for 19 years.  Impressive!

Typically, Harmony says this is performed at the Wharton Center, which is a beautiful venue.  This year, they had scheduling conflicts, so we saw it at a high school auditorium.  It was still very nice.  Nicer still?  They gave the balcony to the homeschoolers!  We were away from the throngs of public school kids.


Nutcracker and Mouse King.
You know how I like to edit pictures…


Mouse Attack!


And yes, that’s a banana, on stage.  Apparently it’s the girl’s last year, so she was pulling a prank.  It was crazy, seeing this banana in a tutu… and then a soldier banana!  The kids loved it (<< not just mine.)


Snow Queen, perhaps?


It’s just so magical!


My kids did fantastic throughout the performance.  Not so much, the other ladies’ kids in our group.  I was kind of unimpressed, but then, homeschoolers the past five years or so have really fallen off my happy ladder.  It’s that whole unschooling thing that’s gaining popularity.  Nobody teaches self-control or manners – everything is getting really awful.  S’why we fringe homeschool groups, anymore.


This is two pictures, put together.  Shhhh!!!


LOVE it!

img_9242-444x333Isn’t this unique?  (It’s also very edited,
but only the dancers could tell you what I did to it.  It was tricky!!)


After intermission, the banana swapped out for a Mr. Potato Head costume.  Which brought new guffaws from the audience.  But honestly?  They did a very, very good job!  We had a wonderful time!

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