The Nutcracker Ballet – A Family Tradition

nutcracker2I look forward to Christmas for many reasons, but one inparticular, is going to The Nutcracker Ballet with my daughter, Ashley, every year. 

I began taking her with my mom when she was, gosh…. about 5.  It’s one of those traditions that the girls in my family now celebrate. 

Today I attended the ballet with not only my daughter Ashley, but also my mom, my 2 sisters, two nieces and some great girlfriends.  We had a 2 hour drive to Louisville, KY and listened to the CD of the Nutcracker on the way up.  The little girls had on their new Christmas party dresses and princess crowns…. too cute.  Ash and I remember back on the the days when she would wear her crown to The Nutracker. 

When Ashley was little, she fell in love with the ballet and like most every other little girl who was smitten by The Nutcracker, she wanted to dance the part of ‘Clara’ (or sometimes referred to as ‘Maria’) when she grew up.  Ashley continued to ask to dance, so at age 7, I enrolled her. 

In the picture to the right, she’s waiting for her que to do a solo running flip and wave to the audience to complete an instrumental.  She’s just completed her dance with the rest of the jesters but has a last appearance.  She was about 8 years old here.

Ashley danced with the Charleston Ballet Company for 4 years. 

At the time, she was 100_0584taking karate lessons also and because of her age and advancement in both dance and karate, she had to make a decision between one or the other because her instructors in both sports were demanding more of her time. After an agonizing summer to decide,  she choose karate and went on to become a 2nd degree black belt.

Of course, I wanted to, and did, support Ashley in her decision and I love that she’s happy with her sport.  But, I do miss watching her dance.  I miss being a stage mom and helping get the girls dressed as the show was beginning.  I loved being just off stage and watching her close up dance her heart out. 

Beashley_dressing_room_balletcause of her dance and karate sports, we called her the “kick butt ballerina”. 

She performed for 3 seasons in The Nutcracker… she was a jester twice, a soldier once and a Magnolia toe dancer (photo to the left) once. 

Today at the ballet, we picked up a soldier and Magnolia dancer Christmas ornament to add her to collection.  We hadn’t gotten those yet and being that she’s a senior in high school, this is her last official year at home.  So with a bit of watery eyes, we finished her collection and said good bye to that part of her life. 

We will always catch The Nutcracker together at Christmas whenever we can and some day, perhaps she’ll give me a granddaugher to carry on the tradition. 

After the ballet, it’s tradition to stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner… so of course, we did.  The only snag with that is I had major dental surgery a few days ago and couldn’t eat yet, but I enjoyed my cup of tea.



  1. michelle suslee says

    Beautiful memories Debbie,
    I have two daughter 13 and 14 yrs old. We saw the Rockettes Christmas show one year and bought the ornaments for each of them :) aaah good times.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. says

    Your story brings back memories of my daughter, Rebecca, dancing in our local version of the Nutcracker…she’ll be 34 on the 23rd.!!!! So that was 26 years ago!!! Thanks for bringing back thosew wonderful times…makes my day!

  3. says

    Awe, maybe you want to remind Rebecca of how special those memories were. Thank you for sharing that! And 26 years ago seems like last week, no doubt. Thanks for sharing about Rebecca Doug…:) I love hearing from you.

  4. says

    That is so cool! It’s those little things that create such powerful memories within our families! I’m going Friday to Nashville to see the Rockettes Christmas show, I’m super excited about it.

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