"The Nutcracker." The colorful party scene, watching the Mouse King battle the wooden man, the graceful snow flakes, the colorful Land of Suites with all of their beautiful divertisments-all this and more, that's what Christmas means to me, my love! (as the song says.)
Now, picture me sleeplessly trying to get a nap in before going to the theatre, the steps I've executed countless times racing through my head-Pirouette-one, two, three, plie-double tour up!-Repeat. Picture me excited as I giddily take company class, doubtlessly annoying the other dancers with my enthusiasm. I make it through the party scene, I warm up backstage, I complete the introduction to the second act, I wait anxiously-Spanish, Arabian, Chinese-finally, Trepak time! (Russian) I spring onto stage and complete my first diagonal, I rush around to the upstage right side and begin the repeat of the first diagonal to the second side. I complete it-land, and then suddenly, the floor moves out from under me! Before I know it, I hit the deck in a swirl of orange and blue with a dull thud. All that comes to mind as I roll upstage is break dancing. I acknowledge the audience with a proud and generous gesture, and I spring to my feet to complete the dance-laughing all the way, HO, HO, HO!
Wow. What a rush! In ten years of dancing with the ballet, I haven't taken a spill like that. I've seen others do it, but never have I! It was exhilarating! However, I'd be okay with that being the only time that ever happens.
In that moment, I have to say, I laughed! What else could I do?!? Directly afterward, I watched the video, and no, the rest of the variation definitely wasn't the crowning performance of my Trepak career, but hey, I had just fallen! If there was ever any doubt in my mind, I now know that I can indeed take a spill on stage!
I laugh and almost boast about the experience, but it was humbling for me. I'm thankful that I didn't hurt myself. It was a bad enough fall that my executive director came backstage from the audience to check on me (which meant a lot.) Even though I display a cocky and boisterous response to the event, it still shook me up. I have to make the decision not to let it freak me out too much. I have to brush it off. I am glad that I was able to see the humor in it. I think it signifies that I've grown as an artist-it's not the end of the world. I love what I do. I love that I was out there and able to enjoy and laugh at the worst technical performance of my career. I'm really not exaggerating.
To any of you dancers who have yet to fall on stage, fear not. As long as you don't hurt yourself and as long as you don't take life too seriously, you may find that falling is just the thing you need to make you realize how much you love what you do. Drink it all in-every moment. It goes fast.