Berkshire Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker Through the Eyes of a Gingersnap!

Little Lake County parents are active, mobile and always seeking adventure! Sometimes we even traverse outside of our fair county to find family entertainment beyond our borders. Due to popular reader demand, we introduce “Little McHenry County,” a monthly column dedicated to finding fun with our neighbors to the west, written by McHenry County Moms in the know. Explore and enjoy!
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“Shhh, quiet girls!”

“Don’t let the audience see your feet!”

“Hug each other so we can shuffle together to center stage…”

“This is it!”

Berkshire Ballet theatre nutcracker
© S. Younge | Little Lake C​​| 2015

As the music begins, and we start to walk onto the big stage in the lights, I can feel my friends’ excitement and hear very quiet giggles – we can’t wait to surprise the audience and all run out from under Mother Ginger’s skirt!  We are one of the most memorable parts of the Nutcracker; everybody loves the silly Mother Ginger who towers above everyone else, wearing stilts under a big, poofy, and wild dress.

Berkshire Ballet theatre nutcracker
© S. Younge | Little Lake C​​| 2015

Being a Gingersnap in the Nutcracker is hard work, but it is fun and exciting too. I love being on stage in such an energetic show. Getting the chance to spend extra time with my friends for Saturday rehearsals is great, and I am making new friends every week. Everyone in the ballet had to audition before school even started, so we could start practicing soon after. I was a little nervous to dance in front of the teachers, but it made me feel so happy when I got the part that I really wanted! I hope that every year I get a new part so I can know every single dance in the ballet one day.

My favorite parts of the show are all of the super cool special effects. It’s like watching a really good movie like Frozen, but it’s right in front of you, with real people! Hair Drop-some-fire (mom says it’s actually Herr Drosselmeyer, how boring!) does an awesome magic show, and even though I have watched it so many times, I don’t know how he does those surprising tricks. I love when Clara falls asleep after the party, and then the Christmas tree grows right in front of us. And the snowing and the clouds on the stage are so neat; I didn’t know it could snow inside, and the best part is that it doesn’t even get cold in the theater.

Berkshire Ballet theatre nutcracker
© S. Younge | Little Lake C​​| 2015

I love dancing with my friends, but I also think it is so cool that there are really, really good dancers who are in the show – with ME!  I have only been dancing ballet for five years, since I was two years old, but some of these guys dance every day for their jobs. That’s what I want to be when I grow up too. Eight professional contracted dancers fly from Miami or drive from Chicago to be a part of our show and raise it a notch – or two or three – above the rest. (That’s what my mom said!)

And since I’m a big girl this year in my new role, I can say this now…the mice are SO cute. And they are really funny too. I was a mouse for two years, and they are always the littlest kids in the show, but they work hard and everyone loves how adorable they are.  My dad says it is the comic relief to help rile up the little brothers in the audience.

Being in a show like this gives little girls like me the chance to live a dream!  We wear beautiful costumes, look out onto a crowd that is smiling and clapping for us, and it helps us learn confidence and pride in what we can accomplish. It is so much fun to actually talk to the stars of the show backstage, too. It’s almost like if I were hanging out backstage with Taylor Swift…almost.

Berkshire Ballet theatre nutcracker
© S. Younge | Little Lake C​​| 2015

So when there are so many Nutcracker shows at this time of year, why choose this one?

It’s easy, it’s the best! It’s right in downtown Crystal Lake, so your family can make a whole day of it. You can go shopping and then go to my favorite restaurant – Benedict’s – for dinner before or after the show, and even visit Santa while you’re there. And the Raue is the coolest theater in the area; I’ve never seen another ceiling that lights up with stars, except at Epcot. It always looks like nighttime there, even when the sun is shining outside.

Just like Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch, our Christmas tradition includes Clara, the Nutcracker, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, too. The familiar music through the whole show makes it impossible not to hum along, and it is something my whole family looks forward to every year. This year my mom had to buy 17 tickets!

After my daddy saw it for the first time, even though he has never been on a stage in his life, even HE wanted to be in the show!  So he was, and he is doing it again this year. We get time together practicing, and he has so much fun too. You know when the parents get so involved that a lot of heart is in the performance, which makes everyone feel good about watching. And seeing my daddy wearing makeup makes his and my mommy’s friends laugh. A lot.

Berkshire Ballet theatre nutcracker
© S. Younge | Little Lake C​​| 2015

The Nutcracker
performed by the Berkshire Ballet Theatre, School to The Summers Academy of Dance.

December 19, 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
December 20, 3:00 p.m.

Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake
Tickets are $27 and are available online or by calling 815-356-9212

About Shelby Younge 18 Articles
Shelby has lived in counties across the U.S. from New York to California. She has worked in catering, public relations, and as a sales executive for a marketing and travel company before giving up her mundane life of exotic food, party planning and international binge travel for the glamour of poopy diapers and being known by name at Costco. She calls Lakewood home with her three sons and a daughter ranging in age from nine to one, and is married to her college sweetheart. Shelby enjoys cooking, exercising, coaching, church-going, wining and dining with friends and spying on her kids under the guise of “volunteering” at school. You can find Shelby dancing through the aisles of the dollar store, sporting heels and nursing her baby in the Ergo, while looking for inspiration for the next family theme day. Or, she might be chauffeuring her kiddos to one of their 1,204 activities while belting out Kids Bop (but using the original lyrics) in her gluten-free cracker-filled family truckster.

1 Comment

  1. This is definitely such an amazing experience. The kids work so incredibly hard and you can tell there’s a sense of tremendous triumph at the conclusion of each performance.

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