Nutcracker has been consuming weekends for what seems like ages. It's a tough time of year for dancers; performing is tiring, and the combination of extra rehearsal and performances plus trying to do festive things such as decorating, shopping, and drinking hot chocolate with friends makes schedules extra busy.
While the Nutcracker Season poses its challenges, it makes it easy to stay occupied, work on your performance quality, and stay in shape. You're on an almost consistent high from the excitement of the stage. You're part of the very small percentage of the population that doesn't gain weight over the holidays. You're exhausted! You know you need a break, and you want a break, but, if you really think about it, you have absolutely no clue how to handle free time anymore. What do you do when there's not more "Waltz of the Flowers" every Saturday?? I barely remember life before Nutcracker!
During the post-Nutcracker slump, the butterflies in your stomach stop flying, and you're in restoration mode. How do you keep yourself from deteriorating into a total couch potato? How do you eat just one gingerbread man and not end up devouring his house and family, too? How do you stay in your Nutty performance mode so that the next time you step into the studio you're on top of your game?
Dancers all know the basic answers to these questions: try to do barre and stretch at home; remember to not go crazy with the holiday indulgences; take yoga or Pilates; find some open classes to take a few times throughout your break. But, for me at least, it takes a little more to not get into a bad post-Nut funk. I have to keep my head in dance and performance mode, too. Then it's easier for me to keep my body there, too.
If you're feeling uninspired, or missing Nutcracker-ing, you might want to try reflecting on your recent dancing. Journaling can be a great way to articulate what you learned and accomplished through your performances. It's a nice way to remember personal moments of growth and inspiration, and to give yourself a motivating pat on the back.
I think it's also helpful to think about what's coming up - the new year and all the dancing it has in store. Watch videos, listen to music, and mentally prepare for the month of dancing ahead. With a full and exciting season already lined up, and a large-scale School Spring Production on the horizon, ARB and Princeton Ballet School give their dancers a lot to look forward to.
The Company will be performing the premieres of Douglas Martin's full-length Romeo and Juliet and his brand new Rite of Spring. (Listening to a little Prokofiev and Stravinsky will certainly keep the brain churning! You could also Google these ballets' histories and some video clips for inspiration.) ARB is also performing Mary Barton's Five Men and a Concerto (a video to watch and review) and a brand new work by Patrick Corbin. (After a work like Follia, imagine how amazing this new work will be!) The School will be tackling the full-length Swan Lake, staged by Maria Youskevitch after Petipa. (Youtube has TONS of sources of inspiration. Summer Intensive students, review what you learned of this ballet over the summer!) Plus, there's the excitement of performing at new venues - SOPAC and the Crossroads Theater; there's the Gala; there are a bunch of interesting On Pointe events and an event at the Princeton Public Library…There is really a lot going on this spring! (Click here for more details!)
When you're sick of sitting on the couch drinking hot chocolate, switch gears! Get moving, thinking, writing, watching, and listening. Get excited! Don't lose your performance spark to a post-Nutcracker slump! We're looking forward to having you back in the studio, eager and inspired.