Back to ‘The Doll Shop’…

Have I mentioned already that this spring’s performance by the Ballet Company will be “The Doll Shop”?… And that I am performing in it… because there are parent roles in it and, long ago, I was put on the “This Parent Is Required to Dance in All Shows Containing Parent Roles Because She Volunteered to be in The Nutcracker Once and Has Been in It Four Times Now” list, as well as the “This Parent Can Easily Be Guilted Into Performing Because… Just Because” list. In the show, we parent dancers are called “Patrons”.

Clown Doll

My daughter is a “Mazurka” doll, but I like to call it “Berzerk-a” instead. (I know… I am sooooo clever.) Last time, she was a clown doll. I tried not to be afraid. Did I mention that every character — except the Shopkeeper, the Shopkeeper’s Helper and the Patrons — are dolls? Well, they are.

I danced in the show once before with the Company, in 2013. That time, I slipped and fell during rehearsals (yes, I am THAT coordinated) and broke my left wrist (self-diagnosed hairline fracture). So… needless to say… I am just a little nervous about attempting to do this again.

The part where I fell comes at the end. We (Patrons) are being chased by the dolls (yes, being chased by dolls is a super scary thought), and at one point, I had to run backwards… in heeled shoes… in a long skirt. The odds were stacked against me, especially since I’d had a major injury to my right shoulder/arm/wrist/back only a matter of months before, which had left me virtually immobile and in agonizing pain for over a year-and-a-half. What’s a little fractured wrist on the other side, then? Nothing. 😛

It’s times like those when you tell yourself, “Well… it may be painful, but at least I can feel something!”


The choreographer (a.k.a. the Company’s Artistic Director) has decided to add a Patron dance into the ballet this year, rather than just letting us walk and sit at our leisure. Let me explain here that last time, I played the role of the “Ingenue because I had “the youngest-looking face” amongst the ladies in the show. (Yes, apparently even if you’re old you can get a young role if you pretend you’re as young as you feel. Of course… you end up injured, which makes you feel even older, but….).

I was paired up with a young man and we were supposed to be on our honeymoon in Paris. I had to constantly flutter a hand-held fan (I think I used the wrist that was in the least amount of pain, or switched back and forth). Why this was my prop, I don’t know… but at one point I was told by the choreographer, “If you don’t flutter that fan more, I’m going to take it away from you,” which was just scary enough of a statement to make me flutter it as fast and as often as I could, rather than simply saying, “In that case, you can have it back.” 😛

This time, I am paired up with a man who is only a handful of years younger than me. Okay, maybe 10 years, so two handfuls. Anyway… this is his first performance with us (which automatically puts him on the “This Parent Will Forever Be in The Nutcracker Now That He Has Been in One of Our Other Shows” list). He is an Army Reservist and the husband of another woman Patron in the show. Why they are not paired up to dance together, I have no clue. I just do what I’m told. I learned from The Fan Incident not to question the whys.

So… last weekend was our first rehearsal (the dolls have been rehearsing for weeks; apparently the Patrons don’t need as much practice…). We learned most of the new Patron dance… and it is fast, and tricky, and awkward, and it is pre-painfully obvious that I am destined to fall down again. There will be no stopping me.

In fact, this is EXACTLY what our first rehearsal looked and felt like. The dog represents the Artistic Director (although she is not really a dog at all). And the mates being rounded up are the Patrons (sorry lot):

Rehearsal #2 coming up this weekend. And I have already forgotten what I learned last time.

At least she had someone to catch her when she fell…


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