From Battle Scene to Snow

November 7, 2014

Shelley Bernhard remembers her daughter Elizabeth dancing in The Nutcracker  - From Battle Scene to Snow

Photos as Candy Cane Solo and Arabian (Coffee) by Maurer Photography

"Aren't you nervous?" I recall asking my then young ballet dancer prior to a performance.  She matter-of-factly responded "WHY would I be?"  Okay.... now, looking back I realize that is NOT something I should have even asked my daughter, but I did.  But her response has echoed many times to me throughout the ten plus years since asking it.  You may wonder why?  Her very sincere reply to me is evidence of a portion of what Elizabeth gained from her training at Opus Dance Studio. Confidence and the love of performing!   My daughter, Elizabeth, began dance around the age of 7 and continued on to be an ARB Company member.  As a mom of a dancer I can assure you that these dancers gain so much from their classes and performances - qualities such as confidence, motivation, support, responsibility, and an awareness beyond themselves are a few of the qualities I see shine through.   You wouldn't believe how fast a costume change can happen 'in the wings' when there are helpers ready and eager to assist the dancer with a quick change.  Those are valuable life lessons.  Caring about the dancer in front of you -- checking their costume, bows, buttons, etc.   Genuine care for the entire cast.

I am honored to be a member of the ARB Board of Directors, and by this experience have an even more awareness of " many hands make light work " ... from helping backstage (when Elizabeth was very young) I learned that is no easy task and not one I am cut out for!, working box office, having a glimpse at the 'wheels' of what it takes to put a performance on,  watching rehearsals, seeing the dedication of the dancers challenging themselves, and how they challenge and support one another, and the magic that happens on dress rehearsal and the first performance.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to 'take it all in'so to speak,  and sit back with admiration and respect of the many talents joined together with a common goal:  to share ART in a way to bring happiness and entertainment and create treasured memories for audience members for years to come.

I encourage you to attend a performance (or two) of the Nutcracker 2014!   This cast will surely leave you smiling.  It is my hope that as you sit back and relax in this crazy busy time of year, that you would feel from the stage how much these dancers love to dance and how much it means to them to bring you happiness!  Yes, admittedly, I will be in my seat shedding a tear here and there of joy, reflection, appreciation, and mostly gratitude of the opportunities given to my daughter, Elizabeth, from her young roles of being a mouse or party girl all the way up to dancing the company snow scene and her Arabian solo. 

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