Ben and Lily's 4-day class at Explorer Preschool put on a fantastic Nutcracker performance last Wednesday. They had practiced for the past few weeks at grouptime, each kid practicing each part every day (well...sometimes someone didn't want to do something...you know how it is, so no pressure, but they pretty much all got in on the fun). My niece, Hannah, has also been attending Explorer for the past few weeks while my sister's family is visiting. Teacher Konne cast Lily and Hannah as Sugar Plum Fairies and Ben as a Soldier. Perrrrfect choices. Konne didn't make a big deal out of this whole Nutcracker thing to the kids - but in the background, all the parents were trying to contain their excitement. We guessed that it WAS going to be a big deal. And a big deal it was, apparently. There were actually SETS! The costumes were beautifully made. Konne is a great director. There were staghands (thanks Teacher Annie who also did the kids makeup - oh, yes, there was stage makeup!). There were tickets and programs (the kids made them). Add to this -- a pulitizer prize winning journalist from the San Jose Mercury News came to the performance to film it (along with my husband, Jeff - who agreed after I signed him up volunteered to video the performance and put together a DVD for each family).
Tickets, Programs, "Marquee"
The kids did great - we were so impressed to see them up on stage. Some of the kids were really funny. Some were serious. Most did their performance. Lily ended up going solo as a Sugar Plum Fairy after her fellow sugar plums became a bit shy - she keeps telling people "I saved the show!" Ava was in the audience and danced in the free-for-all show closer - it was the Russian dancers and everyone worked up quite a sweat on that one.
Lily and Hannah get sugar plumed up, Ben soldiers, Ava and Lily post-performance
How surprised were we to wake up on Thursday morning to see our little Sugar Plum Fairies on the front page of the San Jose Mercury???? How cool is that? There is a video here (video credit: Pauline Lubens/Mercury News) too, in which Explorer's Nutcracker performance is mixed in with the San Francisco professional ballet.
Photo and video credit: Pauline Lubens/San Jose Mercury News
I guess boys don't make the front page of the newspaper when you're talking about ballerinas, but Ben also did a fantastic job as a soldier. We have started to edit the video a bit and, are noticing in the getting-ready scenes how funny Ben can be at times - I mean, we know that, but on video it is another thing altogether.
Another shining example of how much fun Explorer Preschool is for our family and how unique a place it is. This is definitely one for the scrapbook.
Our family, my sister's family and my parents are all heading to the 1:30 showing of the Nutcracker in downtown San Jose tomorrow and are meeting up with Lily's buddies from her ballet class (including our good friend Emily, daughter of my best friend Jen). Last year we went for the children's matinee performance (which was the first act only) and this time we'll be going to the entire length of the performance. It will likely be long time to sit for the kids - but last year they really wanted more (where are the Hot Chocolates?). Hopefully the promise of Ice Cream! to follow will hold for the little kids, Ava and Sam, for whom it will be their first Nutcracker ever. Robin and I vividly remember going to the Nutcracker as kids in downtown Seattle and to get huge ice cream sundaes afterwards (was it Swensons? I remember a big drum...). We continue on the family tradition.