Our children had the best time over the holiday season visiting their favorite ballet companies, small and large. We hosted two students from the Ukraine Ballet who also enjoyed seeing the various company performances.
They were surprised by the number of companies in only one city and we pulled a map up on google to show how many ballet companies there are across the country.
We realize how much effort has been put forward by small local groups to bring ballet front and center to audiences in towns small and large.
In Atlanta, we attended Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker performance twice. The first time with our classmates to watch for our studies. And second when we invited our Ukrainian friends to attend with some last minute tickets that were given to us by the sponsor of their trip.
It was excited to see the performance twice. The first time the children watched to see the movements that they find magical and aspire to emulate. The had to write a list of steps they had mastered in class and saw performed as well as new movements they’d like to achieve.
In class Saturday, each girl had to show one of the steps she had mastered and attempt one of the movements she was trying to achieve.
The second performance gave the girls and opportunity to analyze the movements in great detail having known what was coming. It gave them a chance to further understand why perhaps they were not achieving certain movements and where they needed to practice. And where they may need more strength.
Often in younger girls who have not developed the strength for many moves, find that their technique is correct, it is the strength they need to provide the graceful and delicate movements of more advanced performers.
Our Ukrainian friends had a wonderful time comparing their previous Nutcracker Ballet performances to this one in the United States. They described some more technical execution to which we were not familiar and the girls had a fun time showing each other steps they’ve learned in class in preparation for these performances.
We also hosted the visitors to a number of holiday exhibits and events to give them a taste of Christmas in the US. Ice skating, picking out a tree in the north mountains and cutting it down ourselves, decorating the tree with what they refer to as “American” decorations, baking and decorating gingerbread houses and finally wonderful dance recitals to give them a taste of other dance genres including jazz, tap and a hip hop party my daughter was invited to and was able to bring her new friends.
Our Christmas holidays were blessed with our new friends and a reminder of what the true meaning of Christmas has always been. We took time to remember those who are important to us and cherish those moments together, having fun at home baking cookies, singing songs and watching movies. This is what Christmas is about and what we love to do most over the holiday season.