My Last Nutcracker

Noriko-DanceIt’s the time of the year when we celebrate the holidays and San Diego Ballet is getting ready for “The Nutcracker.” We started rehearsing this production a little over month ago. It takes quite a long time to set everything especially since it’s a big production that uses students from the San Diego School of Ballet. This year I got a chance to rehearse the company dancers and students, an opportunity I enjoyed very much.

I made an official announcement at the beginning of this season that I am going to retire from being a dancer and focus on doing more work behind the scenes. I started getting opportunities to work more closely with Javier, our Artistic Director, and training to be a Ballet Mistress for San Diego Ballet. It’s a big change for me, especially since I have been dancing for over 30 years. I learn so much everyday from Javier, along with Miss Robin the School Director, and from our General Manager, Miss Karen.

Often times I have to teach and take class at the same time. It’s very tricky, but I have gotten used to it. Class in normally an hour and a half everyday with Mondays off. We have rehearsals after class and stay until 3pm. Weekends are longer with rehearsal lasting until 5pm. I have been doing this for over 13 years, so I am pretty used to it, but I can see our younger dancers having a hard time memorizing steps, which can be very difficult with a two hour long production like the Nutcracker. I try to give them helpful advice such as the importance of writing down steps and taking video if needed. I also stress the idea that they shouldn’t leave the studio until they feel comfortable with all the steps, and that it’s important to practice over and over.

SDBNut3Every year when we go on tour there is always a full house that is very excited to see us. Shows are pretty much sold out and sometimes we need to add shows so more people can come and see us! It is very exciting to see the house full of people and we can really feel the energy they bring. It actually helps us stay focused when performing and gives everyone a great energy to work with. In each city we rehearse with the local kids chosen to collaborate with the company. This year we traveled to Billings, MT, and thankfully the local kids were all well behaved and well trained by their school directors that worked with us to put the show together. I want to say thank you to all the schools we worked with!