Nutcracker is finally upon us! Rehearsals are well under way for most of us, and performances are coming sooner than you think! Today I share with you a survival guide for Nutcracker, my secrets regarding how to perform and rehearse in the best way, as well as have as much fun as possible! Nutcracker season is very special, so here are a few ways to make even more great memories.
The Nutcracker Diet
The holiday season is definitely the time to eat a ton of sweets, and I totally believe in that. At the same time, the way that you get into that holiday cheer could be adjusted a little bit. Save the Christmas cookies you get from your friends until after the show – maybe only eat half of them? Sugaring up right before you get onstage isn’t always the best decision. Saving your sweets for a few hours will do you well in the end. Reward, anyone?
You can still indulge in that holiday taste and spirit before you go to the wings though – I love peppermint mochas (yes, they are filled with sugar, but more importantly the coffee component will keep you from crashing!) and small peppermint candies or mints.
Some of my favorite snacks for the few hours before I go on stage are trail mix, walnuts and other protein-filled, dry, portable snacks. On the other hand, I love my muffins for breakfast! The earlier you can get your daily sweets in, the better, so that right before the show, you have it all out of your system.
One thing you can completely control is your pre-holiday diet. Right now and in early December, the Christmas cookies aren’t in full swing yet, and there is no need to eat candy all day! Be healthy as much as you can, and make sure you treat yourself only when the time is appropriate.
At this time, we are in a heavy rehearsal period for our Nutcracker performances. I am at ballet from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and I don’t even have any shows! It’s getting really intense, but also really fun! Here are my tips for both surviving and doing your best:
- Pack quick snacks that you can eat throughout the day. I am a big fan of juices or mini-smoothies. I love the “Naked” ones. I usually take one of those with me from home and put it in the fridge at the studio or theater, then chug on it during my five-minute breaks. I usually drink the whole thing over a course of about 5 rehearsal hours. If I need to, I can keep it in the fridge at the theater and finish it up the next day.
- Make sure you are wearing comfortable leotards and outfits. In my case, we don’t have a dress code for rehearsals. I like to wear looser-fitting and very comfortable leotards so I don’t get hot or itchy over the long hours. Something to never sacrifice on is how comforting your clothing is. I also like to wear my tights above my shoes during really long rehearsals to let my feet breathe!
- Make sure you drink plenty of water! I get eight glasses of water a day throughout the whole year, but I almost always drink ten to twelve during these busy rehearsal times. The more exercise you do, the more water you need. Drinking doesn’t have to be a burden either: I love using a water infuser and putting strawberries or oranges in the bottom. If you are feeling very groggy, it’s easy to throw an Emergen-C in there as well.
- Get as much sleep as possible. If you get done with rehearsals at 9:00 pm, do homework straight away and then get to bed. Don’t watch television or YouTube videos in-between – just get to work! You will thank yourself for it later.
Rehearsal Fashion 101
I love my ballet fashion, as most of you know! While being comfortable for Nutcracker rehearsals is really important, it can also be fun to wear a pretty outfit.
First and foremost, make sure you wear a flattering leotard. Personally, swoop necks and high legs look the best on me. Whether it is a halter, square neck or v-neck, wear it! Make sure you are confident in your own skin. As far as colors go, a red leotard always gets you in the spirit. Make sure whichever color you use still fits into the crowd if you are in the corps, while remaining individual and unique. Wear whichever color flatters you most.
I love bullet point skirts. They are really flattering and make your legs look really long! They also are super comfortable and made of a light material. This makes them especially suitable for rehearsals. The skirts come in several colors, so if you can get a few that contrast each leotard you can make lots of combinations. A great colored skirt can totally change the look of a leotard, so you can repeat leotards throughout the week if you need to.
As far as shoes go, flesh-colored shoes with your tights rolled up can make your lines look super long! Other than that, a classic ballet pink with either your tights rolled up or down is very flattering as well. If you really want super long lines, go for the classic tights-down-pink-shoes look to keep your color consistent.
At the moment, looser hair, especially low buns, are considered fashionable to wear during classes and rehearsals. For example, a semi-loose ponytail with a twist on the side and a classic low bun in the back would be considered stylish. But, it depends on which leotard you choose. If you are going for something quite modern, a high bun might be best. If you are wearing long-sleeves or something with lace detail, I would definitely go for a low bun.
Another fun thing is coordinating your outfit choice with which scene you are rehearsing that day. Below is a list of scenes and a sample fitting outfit for each:
- Clara: Earth-tone leotard with lace, polka dot, velvet, or stripe detailing, contrasting bullet-point skirt, tights rolled up, any color pointe/flat shoes, low bun with twist.
- Party scene: Long-sleeve white leotard, black bullet point skirt, tights rolled up, pink shoes, hair in low bun with braid
- Transition/Battle scene: Navy blue or hunter green mesh tank leotard, no skirt, tights rolled up, flesh-colored shoes, hair in tight, high cinammon bun with wispies
- Sugarplum: Pink or purple simple leotard, practice tutu, pointe shoes, tights rolled down, hair high Balanchine bun.
- Spanish: Red strappy leotard, black bullet-point skirt, tights rolled up, flesh-colored shoes or pointe shoes, tight high bun.
- Arabian: Earth-toned leotard, contrasting bullet-point skirt, tights rolled up, flesh-colored shoes or pointe shoes, loose low bun with center part
- Chinese: Warm-colored leotard, white or black bullet-point skirt, tights rolled up, flesh-colored shoes, loose low bun with twist
I hope this is helpful, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!