Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How the Nutcracker Suite is Sweet with my Writing...

For those of you who know me, you know that I was a ballerina for years and years and years. Like, hard core. Loved it. After dancing, I became a teacher and at my peak, was teaching just over 300 students a week. Madness!

DANCING is so closely knit with WRITING for me... it taps into that same part of my brain that longs for a creative outlet. In fact, I'm just as passionate about writing as I ever was with dancing. If not more so. I can't explain the link, but it's there.

This time of year stirs magic in my blood. You know how every now and then time seems to stop and you have to catch your breath because there's a real, physical change in the air? And you try to pause and just experience the moment because you know it'll be gone in seconds? (and if I'm starting to sound crazy, you can just nod and smile)

For some, there's a trigger... a "special something" that'll put you in that moment every time. For me, it's The Nutcracker.

For seven years, I danced in The Nutcracker with Ballet West--the big ballet company here in Utah. I was one of the lucky few that successfully auditioned out of thousands to be part of this production. Still to this day, nothing affects me like hearing the opening overture by Peter Tchaikovsky. Every time I hear it, it puts me right back in the wings, waiting backstage to perform. The smell of coffee, resin, and the sound of pointe shoes clicking on the Marley floor as dancers warm up... Such a high! There's nothing like being on stage in front of hundreds, being part of creating a story, creating art, creating magic.

The more writers I meet, the more I realize they have a history either in music, musical theatre, or dance. Why is that? What is the connecting factor? It's interesting! How many of you have a history in these areas? Or what is that "something" that taps into that special place in your soul?

Red. Head. Out. :D


  1. Ah this kills me. You painted it perfectly.....I can seriously hear the overture now! Remember the hot lights up above as they would lead you backstage to the wings? Magic! Next year WE WILL be there :) Love this.

  2. I'm amazed by people who can spin around and around without barfing or falling over. :)

    I'm just in love with words. I've always loved reading and that's what taps the special place in my soul. The way words can have such a powerful effect on me. Lyrics, poetry, stories...all of it. :)

    But I do have a very small background in theater. You may have seen me grace the stages of Jordan High School. Lol. :)

  3. I would love to dance, though I never did. I really want to go to the ballet though. Can you believe I've never been?? I was just telling Jolene Perry that I want to bring my daughter to the ballet.

  4. That is so cool!

    I was choir president at my high school, have been in multiple music theater productions, and now dance ballroom with my amazing *certified ballroom instructor* husband.

    I'll totally double testify that writing get's me into the same high as performance does! Especially when I'm in a groove and just typing it out - it's so therapeutic in so many ways.

    As far as that "something" you mentioned, the thing that gets me into the holidays is the cool weather and the leaves on the ground. It happens later here in AZ that I know it does for you in UT, but it has come, and I love it!

    I don't have a special something to get me in a writing mood yet... but I sure do need one... any suggestions?

  5. *than...

    P.S. you're pics are SO cute! You're adorable!

  6. Love the Party Girl picture, that hair! And why did they put you in that ugly yellow dress? We've had Christmas music going in our house all week and I'm trying so hard to remember the Oriental Servants dance, but alas, most of it is gone!

  7. I get this. I love how you captured that special feeling. It's the fall breeze that makes me stop and catch my breath, because that's the time of year I was hardcore inspired to write Sweet Evil.
    It was always writing for me, although I did years of choir, drama, and cheerleading/dance. I think it's the feeling of creating something beautiful. Writing is a performance in its own right. But a writer's ultimate stage is the palms of its readers as they hold the final product (or even the WIP/practice/dress rehearsal). :) Here's to not falling on our faces! *cheers*

  8. You got skills. I usually botch the Hokie-Pokie and wouldn't even dream of attempting the Macarena.

    J. Dog. Out.

  9. I'm a musician as well as a writer, so I totally get what you're saying! The creative process is different for both, but also complimentary. That's probably why music is such a huge part of my writing process.

  10. Aww, love the pics. I wasn't a dancer, but I did play viola professionally in the symphony for years and years. Tchaikovsky brings it all back for me too, since I was in the pit while all you talented people danced on stage.

    Speaking of ballerinas, this one time, I was playing in a talent show and a ballerina from another act asked me if she could see my rosin (the stuff we put on our bows to make it stick). I was confused, but said sure. Then, right in front of me, she puts in on the ground, and steps on it in her pointe shoes. I was like ????? Of course, it cracked and broke all over, since it's not meant for that sort of thing. Then she handed it back to me like she had done nothing out of the ordinary and said, "Thanks! I forgot my resin today!" Then she walked off. There's my crazy ballerina story :)

  11. The water - even mud puddles :D

    The smell of horses

    Beethoven's 7th

    The sound of pool balls

    Nirvana and/or Pearl Jam

    Those things put me in the moment. Crazy memories.

    Something funny??
    My cousin danced in the nutcracker for at LEAST as many years as you did, and she has the opposite reaction. She's like when I hear that music, I want to lock myself in a closet, lol.

    She went to watch it for the first time in a long time last year, but only cause my daughter wanted to go.

  12. PS - you're adorable in your costume

  13. I'm so glad you guys caught the essence of what I was trying to say! :D Thanks for the laughs and deep thoughts.

    I think Wendy put it so well by saying, "But a writer's ultimate stage is the palms of its readers as they hold the final product" Just beautiful!!!!! :D

  14. I love this!...I remember you dancing in our Nutcracker!...
    I love that you've connected your passion of dancing and writing together. Life can be so intertwined!

  15. And now my life is complete! This man right above me ^^^^ is my idol. Most amazing dancer. EVER. Thanks, Mr. Christie :D

    1. you are so sweet...I love checking in on your blog...I'm trying to get the courage to start jotting down a few thoughts of my own..who knows!

  16. I would love to see you dance someday, Morgan! I agree, the arts all seem to interconnect, and for me it's music. I studied the clarinet in college and I'm fortunate enough to still play in a community orchestra, and it totally ties back into my writing. The effort, the dedication, the practice!!
    I love the music from The Nutcracker, but I am sad to say I've never actually seen a production of it!
    Anyway, hope you have an awesome Christmas!!! Great post and fun pics!!!



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