The Nutcracker, My First Ballet, an Amazing Gift, a Night to Remember and a Big Thankyou

I don’t really even know how to begin writing this post. I never thought I would be writing this post. I am still in shock about what has happened over the last four days. I keep mentally pinching myself…

When I wake up — “Did that really just happen?”

While I’m making tea — “Did that really just happen?”

As I’m writing this blog post — “Did that REALLY just happen?”

Better fill you all in, huh? Okay, so here is what really just happened…

I had written my last blog post about how I had finally, after many failed attempts, managed to get a ticket to see Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker. I had only been able to buy one ticket and it was for two night’s time. This meant my girls and hubby weren’t going to be coming with me, but I decided to try and get over that as at least I was going to get there. I was going to see my first live ballet!

Needless to say, that night and the next day I was a little excited. It was a big shopping and appointment day in town for us, but I hummed along on my ballet buzz.

We busily tried to organise everything, where we would sleep, what time we would leave (as it is a five hour drive for us to get there) and what the hubby would do with the girls while I was seeing the ballet. We knew the girls would have to have a pretty special night out with dad to make up for missing the ballet, so we decided on a Daddy/Daughters date night.

Something that was so beautiful to me was my daughters’ attitude to it all. They heard that I was going to the ballet and they didn’t even ask if they were going as well. Not once. They just got super excited for me. They jumped up and down on our lounges and ran around like crazy creatures squealing that their mum was going to the ballet. They asked me what I was going to wear and suggested that we go ballet clothing shopping for me the next day. They wanted to help me choose the outfit. They took a photo of me holding my ticket up. And they got themselves excited about their daddy/daughter date.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how this amazing thing was happening.

Then, something amazing-er happened….

On Thursday afternoon I got a message from Queensland Ballet. They had heard that I was going to see The Nutcracker, and were excited for me, but they didn’t want me going on my own, they wanted my hubby and girls to come with me, and wanted to offer me the purchase of four tickets that I wouldn’t have been otherwise able to get. Four tickets, all together, so that we could ALL go to the ballet!

I’m going to be honest now. As I read that message from Queensland Ballet, I cried. I became a blubbering mess. It just felt like such a kind gesture from them, and I was blown away that thought of doing that for me. For us.

So, now we were all going to the ballet. My girls were besides themselves with excitement and Dave was thrilled as well.

More planning. More chaos.

The next day we were off. Off to see The Nutcracker five days before Christmas. Our very own Christmas miracle.

We took our camper-bus so we could stay by the beach somewhere on the way back. It was a long drive up but no-one complained. We were all on top of the world.

We got to Brisbane a little later than we would have liked. Quickly got changed into our up-dos and hailed a cab. We arrived at the Playhouse Theatre at 6.30, an hour before the performance started. I popped over to the Box Office and picked up our tickets.

I couldn’t hold back the smile that crept onto my face when I looked down at those tickets in my hand. Four tickets to the ballet. Bliss.

We went for a riverside walk. Grabbed some food. Watched a group of hip hop and break dancers practising their stuff, and as we walked back towards the theatre we were blessed with two amazing buskers, one singing beautiful opera pieces and another playing the cello. Bliss.

We got back to the theatre. The bells rang. The girls looked at me with glistening, hopeful eyes, and I nodded that it was time to take our seats. Their faces filled with Christmas-morning-esq joy.

At this point I still didn’t know exactly where our seats were. I knew we were in the stalls, and in the back row. But I didn’t know which side we were on.

Turns out we weren’t on any side. Our seats were smack bang in the centre of the back row. (We had the lighting/technical control guys in the booth right behind us.)

The Playhouse theatre isn’t huge, so we weren’t a long way back from the stage. It was awesome. An amazing view. And as I sat down in my seat I thought to myself: “Is this really happening?”

That thought was quickly interrupted by my eldest daughter whispering hysterically that Li Cunxin (Mao’s Last Dancer) was sitting six rows in front of us. I looked, and there he was. Someone who’s story often inspires me to believe, despite restrictions, was right there, about to watch the same live ballet as me.

Damn, could this night get any better?

I love the rumble of the audience in a theatre before lights down. There’s an energy to it that just envelops you and makes the silence that follows it all the more tangible.

So the conversational rumble rumbled. The lights dimmed. Silence fell.

And right in that darkened moment of anticipatory silence, at exactly the same time, the daughter on my right grabbed my hand and the daughter on my left grabbed my shoulder.

They were gripped to what might follow. And what followed didn’t disappoint. Not. One. Bit.

This being my first ballet, I realise that I have no other experiences to draw comparisons from, but I LOVED this ballet! The Nutcracker story is a wonderful one for both adults and children alike. The choreographer, Ben Stevenson, purposely put a lot of humour into this one and I think it paid off. It was very cute, funny and clever.

But it was also very beautiful. My eldest daughter and I both cried during the Snow Queen pas de deux — WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!

The flower dance was beautiful. Amazing costumes! So pretty.

When the Sugar Plum Fairy entered the stage I felt myself take a deep breath. I have heard so much about this role and I have seen it on youtube etc. and the music is always so touching. I heard myself thinking that I was about to finally see this role and hear this music performed live. She started to dance. I started to cry again.

Does it sound like I enjoyed myself, yet? 😉

I loved it all.

If I had to pick a favourite part it would be the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux. The choreography moved me. The music moved me. I held my breath at times watching this one.

It was over before we wanted it to be. I could have sat there all night. (A ballet marathon — someone should get onto that idea!)

It was such an amazing night. We were the last to leave the and I was already thinking about when we could come back.

I was also thinking, as I sat, looking at the lowered curtains, how I could possibly describe how this night — this whole experience — had made me feel. I wondered how I could put that into words.

We left the theatre. Walked down the steps and out onto the street. Back into the real world. And my eldest daughter said, with awe in her voice: “Wow, mum, I feel so transcended after seeing that!”

That’s how you put it into words.

I don’t know who it was, specifically within Queensland Ballet, that thought of and approved the idea of offering us those amazing tickets, but I want to thank you anyway. What you did was more than just thoughtful.

You transcended us. You transcended us from the menial, and from the difficult struggles we have faced this year.

Thank you.

We also realised that we need regular transcending and have noted the opening date of Romeo and Juliet next year. 😉

The whole thing was a beautiful, amazing, memory blazing night. It ended with us parked next to the ocean at 1.30am. The girls were tucked up, sweet-d
reaming in the bus. And hubby and I drinking tea outside, under the stars. Both of us thinking — “Did that really just happen?”

Luckily I have these pics to prove that it did 🙂 …