Canon’s The Big Moment with The New York City Ballet & George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

There was a time when I had big dreams of growing up to become a ballet dancer.  Christmas times were once filled with rehearsals, Nutcracker performances and even missed school to tour with the Hartford Ballet.

A childhood dream fulfilled.

hartford ballet nutcrackerhartford ballet 1These scanned photos of the Party Scene in the Hartford Ballet’s Nutcracker were taken at the Bushnell Theatre in the early 90’s by my father  on a minature speed graphic with a very fine lens. My how technology has changed!

In retrospect, dancing up until my early teen years instilled in me a particular kind of dedication and perseverance for something that I was fiercely passionate about.  I never imagined that decades later I would have a dream day with The New York City Ballet: a big moment orchestrated by Canon.

With my friend Brianne –  I began my day at Lincoln center, venturing to the New York City Ballet’s sunlit rehearsal-studios through a corridor strewn with images showcasing George Balanchine’s ballets.  Prior to taking a ballet class, we received instruction on how to use the world’s most compact and light-weight full-featured DSLR: The Canon EOS Rebel SL1.  As a mother, writer and amateur photographer, carrying around my clunky and heavy DSLR is truly a labor of love.  I don’t want to compromise on image quality when working or capturing precious family memories.  I found the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 to be an ideal lightweight, portable camera with impressive image quality (in such a small body!).

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City BalletCanon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

When I viewed images of our ballet class led by New York City Ballet principal dancers: Abi Stafford, Jared Angle and Daniel Ulbrich I couldn’t help but laugh at the seriousness in my facial expressions.  Revisiting dance with the lull of an accompanying pianist, in a studio typically filled with renowned dancers of unfathomable dedication was overwhelming. 

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

The ballet class highlight most definitely came when we were treated to an up-close pas de deux of the dance of the Sugar Plum and Cavalier, gracefully articulated by Abi Stafford and Jared Angle.

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 captured many of their movements beautifully.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 New York City Ballet Dancers #BigMoment New York City Ballet Principal Dancers

The day ended with a backstage tour of the David Koch Theater and viewing of The New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.  I have attended many different productions and always dreamed of seeing Balanchine’s choreography.  To say it was breathtaking, flawless and incredibly moving is an understatement.  It was pure magic from the moment I heard the familiar pull of Tschaikovsky’s score.  I tried to soak in every single element – The NYCB Orchestra, intricate set details, ornate scenery, elaborate costumes and brilliant dancers were mesmerizing.  It was more that I could have ever imagined from a live ballet.  I promised myself that I would return to Lincoln Center someday with my own little ballerina.  For now, I have a special gift for her tucked under our tree – autographed point shoes and memorabilia, courtesy of Canon. 

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy

A Big Moment indeed.

Special thanks to The New York City Ballet, Canon USA Imaging, and the entire team that made this #BigMoment possible.  I was not compensated for this post.  I received transportation, lunch, a Nutcracker Ticket and gift bag. Images 3-7 and 10 are via Getty Images for Canon.  Image 11 is via Paul Kolnik.  As always, opinions are my own.


Angelina Ballerina – The Very Merry Holiday Musical {Review}

New York City is truly transformed into a magical wonderland during the Holiday season and enjoying family theater has become a fun component of our pre-Christmas experience.  We kicked off our Holiday excitement this year with a family trip to see Vital Theatre Company’s Angelina Ballerina, The Very Merry Holiday Musical.

Lucia (almost 5!) was bursting with excitement from the moment she learned of our plans.  Like Angelina, she has high hopes of becoming a prima ballerina and girl can choreograph some pretty astounding living room dance performances.   She also enjoys her Angelina Ballerina books, and I couldn’t wait to see her reaction of this live production.  Adrian (age 2.5) can also bust a move pretty well and recently took his first dance class.  Since he greatly enjoyed his previous live theater experience, I was so happy that he too was invited to attend. 

In this performance, Angelina and her mousy friends decide to debut a holiday dance pageant as a gift to the special people in their lives.  During performance preparations, a shipping mishap sends the wrong costumes, so Angelina and crew must collectively problem solve to save their dear pageant. Polly (Angelina’s little sister) steps up and creatively leads the way to the most magnificent performance in all of mouseland.  The heart-warming storyline reminds audience members that spreading Holiday cheer is what matters most. 

Photo credit: Sun Productions, Inc.

The fun melodies, humor and variety of dance genres won over audience members of all ages.  The energetic cast is skilled at capturing and holding the attention of young children.  Lucia smiled and bopped around in her seat the entire time, and Adrian watched intently and applauded at every appropriate interval.

Photo credit: Sun Productions, Inc. 

I think that Lucia was most excited about being invited on stage with the rest of the children to dance with cast members upon show completion.  The children also had a chance to receive cast member autographs and pose for photographs with their mousy friends.  Adrian had a moment of shyness but his big sister gladly showed off her best pirouettes.  

There is still time to enjoy this fantastic show, as production runs until January 13th, 2013!

Presented by Vital Theatre Company and HIT Entertainment at the Vital Theatre, 2162 Broadway, NYC.  Nov. 18th 2012 through Jan. 13th 2013; Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m; special school holiday performances on Dec. 24 – 27; Dec. 31 and Jan 1; (212) 579-0528 or   

My family and I received press passes free of charge.  No other compensation was received.  The above opinions are mine alone. 


A New Dance School

It was time to make the switch.  Lucia started taking ballet lessons when she was two-and-a-half and her love for dance hasn’t waned in the least.  After having an experience at a proper ballet school (at her fabulous fourth birthday party, which I will write about someday) – I’ve been searching for a dance school in our area that focuses a bit more on technique.   

She had her first ballet/tap/gymnastics combo class today.  The teacher was lovely and I hoped that Lucia would prefer the “new school” (which she did!) within three minutes of the class starting. The tap portion (which she was really excited about) was hilarious. 

Here she is getting individualized instruction to tap quietly with a controlled leg:

This is how well she followed her teachers instruction:

Watch out Rockettes.  There’s a new Ginger Rogers in town.