Mind you, Syd's role was on the ground (although the angels were meant to look as if they were flying), and Will's role was in the air, but nevertheless, they were both Nutcracker kids this year.
My Will lives so much in her own head that she sometimes finds it hard when she's required to be in her body; she's strong and flexible and smart, but she has to work harder than the other kids to find the body awareness that leads to grace in one's movements, and it's not something that she can yet reliably achieve. That's one of the many, many, many reasons why I was so proud to watch her practicing and rehearsing for this aerial silks show--a lot of kids who are good at some things will only do those things, and never be brave enough to stretch themselves in a new direction in which they risk failure, but not my Will. She wanted to perform in this show, and she worked her butt off to do it.
I thought that this show would be a direct contrast to Syd's Nutcracker run--everyone in town, practically, saw Syd dance onstage this year, but I figured that only the performers' families, and perhaps a few doting friends, would be in the theater to watch Will. And yet when we got there, so early that I'd thought about doing a little window shopping first just so we wouldn't be the only people sitting in the audience, we actually walked in to find the bleacher seats about 95% taken, and we had to squeeze ourselves in at the far end of a row. And people just kept coming, and coming, and coming! The performers brought out folding chairs and put them all around the stage, wherever they thought that people could sit and probably not get kicked in the head. More people sat on the floor:
I don't know what else was going on in Bloomington that night, but there can't have been more people anywhere than there were in this theater, watching this show.
And what a show it was! I don't know if you've ever seen much circus arts performed live before, but it's really something special to watch. There was everything--synchronized numbers, solo numbers, aerial silks, aerial hoop, and trapeze:
And this kid, of course, who was my own personal favorite performer:
She tells me that she wasn't nervous, but I don't know... look at that face:
Matt took videos of Will's performances (shaky, wonky videos, of course, as one does when one is holding the video camera and filming, but one's focus is rather on the actual show, as it should be), but I'm a rotten perfectionist, and I kind of didn't want to show them to you at first. I didn't want you to see Will's hesitations, her frowns of concentration, how she wants to always watch her partner to keep herself in time, the spots where she forgets her choreography, and think that she didn't do a good job.
But of course, who really cares about small things like that? You might see an imperfect performance, yeah, but you also see a really brave kid. A focused kid. A kid trying so hard that the concentration is clear on her face. A kid who hung out all day with her fellow performers and her teachers the day of the show, got her hair curled and her face glittered, and DIDN'T BRING A BOOK.
A kid who, in her first rehearsal several weeks before, wept silently but hard as she tried and failed and tried and failed to master a stunt that she was able to successfully pull off during this performance.
This is that awesome kid in her show:
It was a perfect performance.