Sunday, December 11, 2005

Nutcracking with my daughter

Last night I went on a date with eleven women.

Okay, perhaps that's not quite right. More accurately, my wife got sick and, instead of her taking my 5-year-old to see The Nutcracker with several of her fellow mom friends, she sent me.

This was both my first experience seeing The Nutcracker and my first experience on a mom's night out. But since I had been away all week on a biz trip, I was game for some quality time with my daughter. Natalie told me that I should dress handsome, and she would dress fancy. We met everyone for dinner downtown first, then went to the theatre early for a backstage tour and an opportunity to see the dancers preparing for the show. As I watched six 5-year-old girls ogling at the wonder of professional ballet dancers scurrying around, getting their makeup and costumes ready, I saw those visions of my daughter's next Home Depot toy workbench and mountain bike being quickly replaced by a those of a pair of ballet slippers and a purple tutu. Sigh.

At the end of the tour, Natalie was asked what her favorite part of the tour was. Her answer: "going to the bathroom."

On a side note, the Benedum Theatre, the venue for the show, is a fantastic place. built in the 30's, it was meticulously restored after being beaten down by rock band performances in the 80's (the entire lobby was painted black at one time), it's known as one of the top 3 theatres for ballet in the country, according to the tour guide.

Later, as we sat in the lobby and waited for the show, one of the moms struck up a conversation with several of the girls about the holidays. Natalie pointed out she was Jewish and celebated Jewish holidays. When asked which ones were her favorites, she said, "Rosh Hashannah, Purim, and Holloween."

Both Natalie and I enjoyed the show quite a bit, but agreed that the second act (do they call them acts in ballet?) was way too long, and needed to end sooner. While I told her to sit quietly and watch the show every time she said, "another dance??? When's it going to end???" I have so say that I silently agreed with her.

Natalie's only experience with The Nutcracker before this was the Barbie version on DVD (can't say I joined her for that one). About halfway through the show, she leaned over to me and said, "wow, how do they do that???"

"Do what?" I asked. "Jump so high in the air?"

"No, dance for this long without talking!"

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