The Nutcracker was the first full-length ballet that I debuted in as a graduating student of the Russian Ballet Academy.
I was prepared for the role of Masha for five months before the first performance by my mentor and second mother, Tatiana Udalenkova.
There are two adagios that I love dancing in this two act ballet: the “small adagio” at the end of Act 1 because of the sweeping music Tchaikovsky, and the “big adagio” in Act 2 where I dance with five cavaliers.
Performing The Nutcracker has become a staple in celebrating Christmas for me because of this debut, which happened over the holidays between 1983-84, making it exactly 30 years since that debut as Masha.
It continues to be one of my most performed roles in the classical ballet repertoire, as I think it is for most classical ballerinas
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