A " Clara" Mother Remembers

October 23, 2014

Becky Barnes, mother of Anna Barnes ARB dancer from ?-2008

As a current member of the Ashland Regional Ballet Board and a proud mother of a previous Opus II dance student and ARB Company member, I had the opportunity to watch my daughter dance in a number of ARB’s Nutcrackers.  It started with her dancing as a young party girl waiting for Uncle Drosselmeyer to gift her a doll, moving to supporting roles, onto corps roles like Snow and Flowers and then more principal roles like Chinese, Candy Cane, Arabian; finally to the moment when Drosselmeyer gave her the Nutcracker Prince as she danced the role of Clara.  I will remember her dancing the pas in the first act with the Prince and nothing but a black backdrop for scenery. The simplistic quality enabled me to focus only on the breathtaking choreography and dancing. My least favorite memory was when I had to monitor her temperature during dress rehearsal. I will forever treasure those memories and the beauty of the quality of each and every production. 

Anna was so blessed to have exceptional dance training and the opportunity to dance in multiple large venues with live orchestras.  I loved the live music, but would sit on the edge of my seat as the conductors, at times, would pick a more “robust” speed and make it quite exciting to watch the dancers keep up. What she gained with her dance training and experiences has influenced the exceptional young women she is today. Not only have the live performances provided a source of enjoyment through the years, but the photos each year where quite useful; as we used them for our Christmas cards. 

The Nutcracker became a part of my family’s holiday tradition when I was a young girl and has continued with my own family. I encourage you to make it part of your holiday this year. This year’s production is being offered in Ashland and is a bit different than when Anna danced; this creative version includes a narrator that assists the audience in understanding the beautiful story of Clara’s journey.   So, if you’ve ever wanted an explanation of the story as it is beautifully danced, this is the production to see!

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