My head and my heart are still back stage at Nutcracker. It takes a few days to decompress after each annual run. Backstage dust is still in my head, oozing out of my pores, encompassing my senses.
If you know the Nutcracker ballet, you know that it snows during the Snow Queen and King’s final pas de deux. The effect is magical from the audience. Backstage, someone pulls on a rope attached to a bag with slits on its sides, fake snow in the middle, hung at the very top of the ceiling. Whomever pulls the rope is supposed to rock it slowly back and forth, allowing the snow to drift gently over the dancers. Whenever one of my family members pulls the snow rope, there is a snow storm of epic proportions. A dump of snow. On top of sweaty dancers. After the main drape closes, the dancers giggle and scream and throw fake snow at each other. Fun. For them. Not for crew, and not for the directors.
We, backstage crew, have to clean up the snow before Act 2. And we know the snow is not supposed to be the star of the show. At least I know that. I am not sure my family members who work backstage know that. They are very much into fun. I feel for the directors who put on the most professional performance of Nutcracker in Sonoma county year after year, despite my crazy family creating blizzards. And for all of the other near disasters that occur backstage every year. I love preventing those disasters. When dancers go onstage, with costumes and props, on cue, I have done my job, and I am happy.
My safe place is as far away from the snow rope as possible.