Stage + Studio, A Louisville Ballet Blog: “Magic” by Annie Honebrink

Christmas is magic. It sweeps me away. Back to childhood. Joy. Innocence. Nutcracker is Christmas. It sweeps me away. Into imagination. Into a new world—but a familiar one. For as long as I can remember I’ve been carried by the magic of Nutcracker. As a child I would place costumes on my parents couch and dance the entire ballet in their living room along with the dancers on the television screen. Marie was always my favorite part to play. (Along with Herr Drosselmeyer. I also had a fascination with magic tricks!) As an adult, not much has changed. Now—perhaps even more so than as a child—Marie lets me escape and leave the world for a brief moment in time. She is like slipping into a comfortable pair of old jeans. Like stepping back into my childhood dreams. I think, perhaps, as an adult she has come to mean much more to me than when I was a child. Her youth, innocence, sweetness, kindness, and bravery are a refuge from the sometimes cruel, harsh realities of the world. That is the beauty of art. The ability to transcend, to bridge the gaps between reality and dreams, to find the beauty amidst the pain. Art feeds the soul and heals the heart. It lifts you out from the darkness inside or sits with you in the depths. Until you can understand. And can rise again. Funny—how sometimes the simplicity of a little girl’s dream is exactly what you need to remember how to stand. Sometimes that age old gift of a nutcracker—is what mends your aching world.

I remember sitting in the audience—red velvet seats, golden columns, crystal chandelier sparkling in my eyes. Cradling my new nutcracker in my arms, shiny Mary Jane clad feet dangling down, muscles taught with anticipation. I remember the music playing inside of me. The chords pulling at my soul. I remember being swept away into the Magic. Taken right along with Marie into a world of beauty.

I look into the eyes of my nutcracker prince and around at the imaginary world of snow and Magic. And I am that little girl again. Playing make-believe, living in a dream world. And it is a gift. A small beautiful gift of Time. A frozen moment of perfect innocence and purity. And I hope that maybe there will be at least one little girl sitting on a velvet cushion holding her new nutcracker, who will be swept along with me, her soul dancing to the music. I hope that maybe there will be a young woman whose heart has been ravaged by love, who is trying to stand in the black pit. Who’s world is aching—who will be swept away into the memory of childhood and imagination and first pure love. I hope to give them something of what this beautiful art form has given me. Give them a taste of this tradition of joy. A piece of the beauty.

A share of the Magic.