The Snow Scene

 

Snow Queen in "The Nutcracker" with Alexei Khimenko. Photo by someone's dad?

The other day I was home working on my November column for Windy City Times. My iTunes genius list was set to “classical”. A little Corigliano, some Yo Yo Ma and then more familiar music came on. Music I’ve known intimately for years. I first remember being moved by it when I was much younger. I was in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. The rest of my family was downstairs watching who knows what (probably basketball), but I was upstairs standing in the kitchen watching Baryshnikov’s The Nutcracker on PBS.

It was the beginning of the snow scene – or snow pas. Misha had just magically turned from a “wooden” soldier to a prince and was asking Gelsey Kirkland (“Clara”) to dance. The setting was beautiful and romantic. The dancing…well, it was Misha and Gelsey. It is still my favorite version of my favorite scene and I still watch it every year. And, yes, it still makes me cry (but don’t tell anyone, I have a reputation to uphold).

Luckily, I got to dance a version of the snow pas many times in Springfield. I still get a little tingly with anticipation (and a bit nauseated with nerves) when I hear the first few notes. Walking out to do the pas was nerve-wracking, but once you got through it, you were home free for the rest of the scene. The flakes come on and you get a break, then basically just a few quick jump passes and lifts  – oh, how I love the lifts, especially when  your partner is 6’5″ – and you’re already in the blizzard. Slow down, resolution, make it snow and scene.

I know it’s only the beginning of November, but the snow scene will happen, real and on stage, soon! So here’s a little something to get you in the mood.

 

2 thoughts on “The Snow Scene

  1. Ahhh…just beautiful. With Champaign Urbana Ballet at Krannert Center, I sneak into an unknown place in the wings for the Snow Pas right beside the orchestra pit and its 12 violins – and it takes your breath away before it quietly ends.
    Good memories of Vicki as Snow Queen with Springfield Ballet Company, too.

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