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TBT Dancers’ Holidays

Finale scene of The Nutcracker

The holiday season looks different for everyone this year, including the dancers of Texas Ballet Theater. Normally the company is in the middle of The Nutcracker at this time, bringing magic and holiday cheer to thousands of patrons in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Nutcracker season is a marathon for the dancers performing this classic ballet, with TBT typically presenting more than 30 performances in a matter of weeks. “When we are in the theater, we usually have two shows a day,” Company Dancer Paige Nyman said. “The full show routine of warming up, hair, makeup, and costume is doubled!”

Because there are so many performances, there are also multiple casts. Dancers perform several different roles throughout the run of The Nutcracker, depending on which cast is scheduled for which performance. “Most days I’ll have a rehearsal for at least three to four roles, but on especially busy ones it can be as many as six,” Company Dancer Brett Young said. “That generally means I’m on my feet and moving for the better part of eight hours of the day. It’s a fun challenge to work on so many things throughout the day.”

The busy hours of rehearsals and performance days don’t dim dancers’ holiday spirits. In fact, many of their holiday traditions blend with the ballet’s schedule. “I love coming home from the theater to light my Hanukkah candles,” Company Dancer Alexandra Farber says.

Company Dancer Katelyn Rhodes loves spending time with her family at this time of year. “Since all of them are local, we usually find time to be with each other on Mondays, the day I consistently have off during a Nutcracker season,” she said. “Shopping at Galleria Dallas, dinner at fun restaurants, or just a night in watching movies and wrapping gifts are my favorite things to do.”

With TBT’s live performances cancelled this year, many dancers are experiencing the holidays in a new way. For several dancers, this is their first holiday season without The Nutcracker in more than 15 years. Here are just a few of the things our dancers are excited to try this year:

“I want to go ice skating! I usually avoid attempting feats of bravery during The Nutcracker, but this year, I might trade my pointe shoes for skates for a day.” – Paige Nyman

“Last year I bought 8 little gifts for my cat as Hanukkah presents. I might do that again this year!” – Alexandra Farber

“This year, I was excited to cook a Thanksgiving meal and have a quiet holiday where I could really step back and truly think about all the things I’m thankful for. As much as I wish we were on stage performing The Nutcracker, I’m so thankful to be working and thankful for all the supporters of TBT throughout this crazy year!” – Cara Shipman

“I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time with my kids – more bundled up walks with the kids and my husband at night to see our neighbors’ decorations, watching Christmas movies on the weekends, and going to bed earlier than I normally would after shows.” – Carolyn Judson

“I may try to make more of an effort to drive around and see more Christmas lights this year. I never feel as if I have time to do it normally, but it has always been something that brings me so much joy!” – Hannah Wood

“I’m considering decorating in the house I’m now living in.” – Brett Young

“I will spend time with my family baking and playing games! A Bayhi favorite is to play Monopoly.” – Jackson Bayhi

“This year, I will FaceTime my little cousins when they open their presents from Santa!” – Kamryn Spell

“I’m doing everything I can possibly fit into the next few weeks! I’ve got to make up for the last 7 years somehow!” – Katelyn Rhodes

“This year, since I have down time for the first time, I would love to actually take the time to watch some traditional Christmas movies and get in the spirit! I still have never seen A Charlie Brown Christmas and other classics like that!” – Celeste Gaiera

“I made Thanksgiving turkey thighs for the first time! Also, we’ll be trying to enjoy safe outdoor activities like driving by Christmas lights and decorations that we normally wouldn’t have the time to do.” – Nicole Von Enck