My youngest daughter will be doing her last performance for HRB, then she’ll be retiring from ballet and doing the college thing.
The professionals featured in the show are from the American Ballet Theater in New York City. Jared Matthews used to dance with the Houston Repertoire Ballet. He is a really down to earth guy. The last time we were in New York my oldest daughter checked with him to see when he’d be performing (the girls have had the good fortune to be onstage with them many times over the years). He went out of his way to get the girls and their friends discount tickets to the show at the Lincoln Center, plus 15th row seats to watch a rehearsal and walk backstage. Jared and Yuriko both took time to give her a lot of good career advice over the years. It is always nice to see people who are that good at something yet are still humble and approachable.
The Houston Repertoire Ballet presentations of the Nutcracker Ballet are December 3 – 5. Tickets are $15-18. It is your best holiday entertainment value. Nice theater, good show and no having to to drive downtown!
Guys, impress your wives/girlfriends and take them to see some fine arts. It is a big hit with kids because it is colorful, fast moving and has many short scenes.
I’ll be playing the role of Dr. Stahlbaum (the opening scene party host) for all the shows. I’m retiring after this year! My youngest daughter is the real performer. She has various lead roles in each show. My wife is helping make the costumes. It is fun having something the whole family is involved in.
If you bring any young kids who want to meet the dancers after the show just let me know and I can arrange that.
My oldest is performing in the Nutcracker at the professional company where she is a trainee. We’re excited to go see that one as well.
The shows went really well. The artistic director said it was the best production in memory. Everyone was great to work with and seemed to have a good time. I got to watch my youngest dance from the audience as well after the party scene was complete, which is always fun. Over the holidays we’ll see the oldest in her first Nutcracker with a professional company.
One more year and I’ll retire! Now if I could just get this music out of my head . . .
The title of the post is the nickname for the Nutcracker rehearsals each Saturday when the “party scene” is rehearsed. The actual performances are Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6.
This year I get to play Dr. Stahlbaum, the host of the party, for two of the shows and a regular “party dad” for two other shows. I always like to learn something new. The party guys are wearing tuxes this year instead of old-timey duds, so that will be a fun change.
My youngest has a bunch of good roles, including the Dewdrop Fairy (my favorite). My wife is helping make a lot of the costumes. My oldest is performing in the Nutcracker at the professional company where she is a trainee. We’re excited to go see that one as well.
It is your best holiday entertainment value – $18 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Nice theater, good show and no having to to drive downtown! Guys, impress your wives/girlfriends and take them to see some fine arts. It is a big hit with kids because it is colorful, fast moving and has many short scenes.
Go here to order tickets for the Houston Repertoire Ballet production of the Nutcracker.
The Cinderella Ballet performances went really well last month. Both girls had their biggest roles ever and had great performances in all three shows. The artistic directors who founded the company said it was the best show they had ever done and it was what they had dreamed of.
I had fun playing Cinderella’s father (Nepotism ain’t so bad — what role could be more natural than playing my daughter’s father?) and as a court gentleman in the ballroom scene. The rehearsals and the show were a blast. It is hard to believe it is all over. No, I didn’t really dance much, I just moved here and there while the girls danced around. And, despite rumors to the contrary, no tights were used by me in this performance.
More good news: Daughter 1 has been accepted to the trainee program of a professional ballet company! It is definitely dream-come-true time. Fifteen years of passion and hard work paid off. She’ll be training and performing while going to college part time.
From the I am not making this up department, I will be playing the role of Cinderella’s father in the Houston Repertoire Ballet’s production of Cinderella on May 16-17. My wife is endlessly amazed that I’m doing this because I’m the guy who doesn’t even like to dress up for Halloween.
My oldest daughter will be playing the title role and my youngest has a big role as the Spring Fairy. Given that I’m the father of Cinderella in real life, I suppose that means I am uniquely qualified for this role. How could I say no?
The father role is in the first act. I basically have to act irritated at my nagging wife and obnoxious step-daughters and then I have a nice one-on-one scene with my daughter. It is just the two of us interacting and dancing for a couple minutes. I “tell” her (using hand gestures) that she looks like the picture of her real mother (now deceased), then we have a little dance. Oh, who am I kidding? I basically stand there and she dances around me. It is the only time my character is joyful. He had a great political job until his first wife died, then he married for money. Bad idea.
My daughter likes to remind me that my character is a pretty lousy dad. He buys dresses for his step-daughters but not for Cinderella. Apparently he dies between Act I and Act III because he is nowhere to be found when the Prince arrives with the shoe and then marries her.
I was surprised to find out that I’m in the second act ballroom scene as well, but this time as a different character. There are six couples doing ballroom moves throughout the act.
The show is coming together very nicely, with lots of good dancing, acting and humor. The artistic director and the dancers are so talented and hardworking, and rehearsals are a lot of fun. It is nice distraction from my day job.
This will be a lot more challenging than the Nutcracker “Party Dad” gig I’ve done four times. We won’t have three dozen other people on stage with us and I can’t just blend in.
Hey friends and family in NW Houston — I’m re-running this as a reminder that the shows are May 16-17 and some good seats are still available. It is your best local fine arts value. I’ll have pictures and a little video from dress rehearsal up next week. It is looking good!
I’m enjoying listening to Steven Curtis Chapman’s song Cinderella. It is fun to play on the guitar as well. It was popular on Christian radio and again when the daughter he wrote about was killed in a horrible accident.
I have to confess that I changed the station the first time I heard this song. Not that it was bad, just that I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of song. I’m the guy who thought the DJ was being sarcastic when she went on and on about how great she thought the “Christmas Shoes” song was (turns out she was serious). I’m not without sentiment, but it isn’t my first reaction.
But my wife pointed out just how much this song applies to us. My oldest is currently Cinderella both literally (in the ballet) and figuratively (about to leave home as the “clock strikes midnight”). And I’ll be dancing with her onstage! (See Part I.) She is ready to be on her own at college and dancing. In fact, she’s been mature enough for some time.
I love the song’s theme that we need to make time for our kids. I frequently tell my employees and anyone else who will listen that while delivering results at work is very important, all our money and all our success can’t buy our kids a second childhood. I’ve made my share of parenting mistakes and could use some do-overs, but one thing I’ve been very intentional about from day one is being there for them. It isn’t like I never worked late, but I was very disciplined about getting out of work at a reasonable and predictable time, especially when they were younger. Now they are so busy with dance that it is pretty easy to be surgical and schedule volunteer and other activities while they are in classes.
Here are some of the lyrics (see the YouTube post below if you want to hear it). The picture in the slideshow above of her in the pink outfit reminds me of the first part of the song (more pictures to come, of course!).
She spins and she sways to whatever song plays, without a care in the world.
. . .
So I’ll dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms.
‘Cause I know something the Prince never knew.
Oh I’ll dance with Cinderella, I don’t want to miss even one song.
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight, and she’ll be gone.
So I get to dance with Cinderella right before the “clock strikes midnight!” God is so very, very good.
Just for the record, one part of the song that does not apply to us is where the girl goes to her Dad to practice dancing. Let’s just say that conversations about dance tips are one-way streets in my house, and it doesn’t start with me!
All the sentiments apply to my younger daughter as well!
Here’s the video and the story behind the song.
Dates & times for the Houston Repertoire Ballet presentation of Cinderella:
The Nutcracker performances went really well. The girls nailed their roles, especially the major ones, and everyone had a good time. They’ve worked hard on this since late August and it is great to see it all pay off for them. All five shows either sold out or had large crowds. I got to watch several shows from the wings or the audience after the party scene. As always, I never get tired of watching them dance.
The party scene performances are always fun, but this was the best year yet. From the first show on people did a lot of ad libbing and such, which the artistic director appreciates and the audience seems to as well. It makes it look more like a real party.
It was hard to believe that this was Daughter 1’s last Nutcracker with the Houston Repertoire Ballet (though there may be more in the pros!). From mouse to Snow Queen in eight “easy” years.
I’m looking forward to the last two years of Daughter 2’s performances. Presumably I’ll be doing the “party dad” thing a couple more times unless they decide to go with a younger group.
We took a few (thousand) pictures. One of the fellow party dads and I teamed to get shots of everyone and put them on Picasa to share. For photography buffs: We finally found the “magic” lens for ballet – a Canon f/1.2 50mm. It is a portrait lens so at first glance it doesn’t seem to be a good fit. But it lets in maximum light so you get a lot less blur. Ballet photography is extremely challenging – low light at times, no flash allowed, and lots of movement. We still delete hundreds of pictures but we got a lot more good ones.
Here’s a little video of the doll scene from rehearsal. Facing the stage, D2 is the left doll on the left side and D1 is the left doll on the right side. I take D1 out of the box.
This is my annual Nutcracker post, which is one of those family pieces that not everyone will care about. You’ve been warned.
If you are in the NW Houston area and would like to get tickets to any of the shows (December 5-7), click here. It really is your best holiday entertainment value. No need to drive downtown and pay higher ticket prices for the Houston Ballet.
They used a picture of Daughter 2 in the poster again this year.
I love Nutcracker weekend. The kids work so hard and finally get to perform five shows over three days and spend lots of time with their friends. A few professionals are brought in, including two from New York’s American Ballet Theatre.
This will be my fourth year to be part of the production. It is sort of a glorified crowd scene role (one of the guys joked that we are just there as eye candy – ha!).There are six families in the opening party scene, so they need some dads to be involved.The role is referred to as “Party Dad,” but not in the sense of, “Woo-hoo!Hey hey!Party Dad!”We basically mingle, pretend to talk, and do some limited old-timey dancing (not ballet).
The girls each have a bunch o’ roles. Daughter #1 is the Snow Queen, Dewdrop Fairy and others. It is her last year so she will have lots of stage time in the lead roles. Daughter #2 is the lead Arabian, Harlequin Doll and in the cast of several group numbers. They’ve been in the shows nearly 10 years, starting with roles as mice, so it is fun to see them dance more and more every year.
OK, this might qualify as a niche post, but the Houston Repertoire Ballet is performing a variety of pieces at the Tomball High School auditorium on Saturday, April 26. It is a mix of a classical ballet, a few contemporary pieces and a storybook piece that little ones will love.
My daughters have various roles and two of the best dancers in the world will be visiting from New York’s American Ballet Theatre (one of them used to dance with this company). No, I’m not in this production . . . you’ll have to wait for the Nutcracker for my crowd scene role.
Guys, it will impress your wife/girlfiend if you take her. Go out for some culture! It is your best fine arts value.