For a professional dancer, The Nutcracker signifies an incredible lineage. It’s one of the first ballets you ever do as a young dancer, and you grow up doing it. And eventually, as a professional, you’re dancing these roles you idolized as a child. When you step into performing the Sugar Plum Fairy, you’re acutely aware of the lineage and the tradition of everyone that came before you, and everyone that will come after you.
There’s something really beautiful about the lineage and the traditions from a dancer’s point of view. And for me as a choreographer, now I get to make it. I first danced it when I was 8, so for 40 years, I’ve had a relationship with this ballet. When I was Sugar Plum here at Sacramento Ballet, I felt the lineage in a huge way, and now I feel it in a big-picture way. How many people have created this ballet before me? And now it’s my turn. It’s a little daunting, but it’s mainly exciting.
In the US, very few on the professional stage that are choreographed by women – there is Stoner Winslett’s at Richmond Ballet in Virginia, Karen Russo’s at Dayton Ballet, and there’s Victoria Morgan’s at Cincinnati Ballet. And now there’s ours.