Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nutcracker Adventure

When I was growing up my mom always took me to see The Nutcracker Ballet before Christmas. During the few years we lived in Indiana we went to the ballet with a live orchestra at the University. It was quite a treat as IU has a very good music school and dance department. Going to the performances at the University of Florida wasn't nearly as spectacular although I usually knew some of the children performing in the dance program. Nearly every year of my "adult life" when I lived in Los Angeles I saw The Nutcracker with my dear friend, Carol B. The LA Symphony Orchestra playing for the New York City Ballet or Joffrey Ballet or Bolshoi Russian Ballet was a something that made me a "Nutcracker" spoiled snob, you could say. Since moving to Sweden I've had a pause from The Nutcracker...partly waiting for Maya to be a little older to appreciate it as Bo has no interest in seeing ballet. Last year we were in Florida for the performance at the university, I must say that the overall dancing was better (they had several guest dancers from various countries) but the music was still "canned" (recorded). We were lucky to get tickets in the 10th row and 5 year old Maya really liked it and Bo, too!

As we are staying in Sweden this holiday season I looked into buying tickets for the Royal Danish Ballet performance back in October. It's a good thing I didn't wait longer! We had good seats but at the back of the first balcony. To join us on this adventure in Copenhagen (about 2 hours from our country village), we invited our Danish cousins, Emelie and Louise Arzrouni. They are Maya's 3rd cousins technically speaking, their grandfather is my mother's first cousin. Another time I will relate the story of why we have cousins in Denmark, but not today.

I have to say that this was one of my FAVORITE performances ever! There were some elements of technical "magic" that I haven't seen before...especially with the use of mirrors to enhance the scenery and movements. The mixture of classical ballet with whimsical comedy made it very attractive and entertaining for children and adults without being cheesy. I LOVED IT! And so did the girls! (No one feel asleep or mishaved) Oh, and to hear live music! Wonderful! We decided to do this again next year! The only thing we'll change is the eating part of our adventure....Elsina will search for the perfect place for us to share nibbles before the performance rather than waiting until afterwards.

Here's how our adventure progressed...... Mommy and Maya dressed up and ready to leave on our Nutcracker Adventure! (Maya fixed my hair!)
First we drove over an hour south to Malmö (Sweden)...then parked the car in "Finland" (only the name of the parking lot parking in "Daisy Duck" at Disney) ....then we took a train over the Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen (Denmark). Here Maya looks a little motion passed after she ate a small sandwich.
The theatre is on the "King's New Square" in Copehagen. A skating ring was set up in the center of this square. Many people were out and about shopping in the crisp slightly sunny weather! Shops are not usually open on Sunday in Denmark but they are open during the holidays!
The cousins get along quite well together although they do not have a common language, yet. The girls can understand each other a bit as the languages (Swedish and Danish) are so similar but mostly they speak with smiles and gestures for now. Emelie, in pink, is 1.5 years older than Maya and Louise is only a month older. They were accompanied by their grandmother, Elsina, who is a retired language teacher (French, Danish, English and Italian). Both girls speak a little French as they spend a great deal of time at their summer house in Provence but soon they will start studying English in school.
After the show we grabbed a chocolately bite to eat at Illum's Department Store (sort of like Macy's you could say)...although we were really looking forward to eating a meal since none of us ate lunch! All the places were closing at 5pm and the kitchens close an hour before so all that was being offered were cakes and drinks. So we forced down these delicious brownies with milk, coffee and blackberry soda! Then we said Hej Då to each other at the metro and went off in opposite directions...with promises to see each other soon!

Does anyone out there in blogland like to see The Nutcracker?
What about The Little Matchsitck Girl? A Christmas Carol?
Are there any other performances that are a part of your holiday traditions?


Sara said...

What a wonderful day you had! Sounds so nice! I saw the Nutcracker when I was younger, but haven't seen it since. I would love to though - I remember liking it!

Brenda said...

How wonderful to introduce the girls to ballet; I have never seen a live performance of any of the Christmas stories, but it would be exciting. Have a great day.