Sugarplum Visions

| December 22, 2010

My father smiles gently and bends down, whispering that I will see the Sugarplum Fairy. During the next few weeks at Mrs. Klaus’ class, I anticipate through all five ballet positions how the eponymous candy translates into Joffrey at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater — a sweet piece of dried plum becoming a perfect twirl of pale lavender — layers of ballerina tulle sparkling with sugar crystals like sunbeams on snow. My mother has given navy fishnets for my blue leotard, an outfit that is noticed by others dressed in shell pink and white.

The small nutcracker doll on my sill guards the window, though I barely sleep the night before. Driving along the quiet, icy lake front in our old blue Buick feels like an almost other worldly passage to a frozen magical moment. We slowly make our way across East Congress Street, whose white-laced tree branches capture a red cardinal heralding in the Christmas season. We wait with baited breadth for Act II of The Nutcracker Suite.

Tchaikovsky is heavenly, like the Land of Sweets. I see an enchanted Russia in the glass mirror of the distant lake, blue peppermint icicles in the backdrop. Clara and her Prince are welcomed by the Sovereign of Sweets who elegantly ushers in a colorful celebration of foreign dances. We savor chocolate, coffee, and tea in the air, hungry for something more. Ethereal and delicate, the Sugar Plum Fairy, in glimmering, white satin and silk, pirouettes exquisitely across the stage and circles toe-to-toe around her cavalier. Her layered netting recalls a fairy’s wings, light, almost transparent. She is far sweeter than dragee — an unearthly vision of grace and beauty, far surpassing a school girl’s quiet dream.

Referencing Our News Display: The Nutcracker Suite Premiers in Russia, Monday, 12/20