Surviving "Nutcracker"

Features, Nutcracker, 12-13

Pointe Magazine, December 2012
 
Dancers have a love-hate relationship withNutcracker. For many, it was the first ballet they saw; for even more, it was the first they ever performed. But, despite the nostalgia, December’s relentless marathon of shows takes a toll. If Nutcracker music is starting to make you a little loopy, you’re not alone!  
 
Abigail Mentzer
Soloist at Pennsylvania Ballet
 
 
First roles: Angel and Soldier in The Nutcracker movie with Macaulay Culkin
 
Favorite role: Lead Marzipan and Sugar Plum
 
Performances per season: About 30
 
All-time favorite Sugar Plum: Darci Kistler
 
How do you stay sane during Nutcrackerseason? I sew. It takes my mind off the day. And my gym is across the street from our theater, so in between shows—some Saturdays we have three in a day—I’ll go to the hot tub. 
 
How do you keep up your stamina? I swim laps about three times a week. It loosens up my joints. I always feel much more open and taller afterwards. 
 
What goes through your mind when you hear Nutcracker music in a store? Honestly? Anxiety. 
 
Favorite holiday traditions? Icing my feet! And I love to escape to New York City, because that’s where I grew up. 
 
Biggest Nutcracker nightmare? In my first year doing Sugar Plum, my shoe came off near the end of my variation! I had to do the whole greeting scene with it practically off my foot. I thought nothing could go wrong after that—but the next day, my partner was horribly sick, and in the pas when we did the no-handed fish, he didn’t feel me start to slide down. My belly was basically lying on the floor!
 
Read more at PointeMagazine.com. >>