The day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the Nutcracker season and unlike some dance aficionados I’m always eager to see how different companies treat the time-honored favorite. When my grandkids come to town, I bring them to American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker
(left, photo by George Jones). This year. we are on the road ourselves, so we will sally forth to the Kodak Theatre in Rochester, New York, where the Rochester City Ballet
performs with the Rochester Philharmonic.
As of today, good seats are still available at both venues in the balcony, and the balcony is surely the best place for little folks who can’t see over the big people in the orchestra. ARB dancers get to perform with live music when they end their season on December 17 and 18, with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, at State Theater in New Brunswick.
Another favorite holiday tradition — you may say it is at the other end of the spectrum, but it depends on your world view — is the “Engage with Grace” movement,
which aims to help family members let each other know about their end-of-life preferences at an early time, when the discussion is not so painful. Deciding whether your spouse wants to be resuscitated is not a discussion you want to have when you are signing into a hospital, nor do you want to have this conversation with your siblings on your cell phone.
So the Engage with Grace folks suggest you use the “one slide” approach. This slide, to the left, offers 5 not-so-easy questions. This year’s variation on Engage with Grace is Occupy with Grace.
Don’t reject it out of hand. It’s going to be a lot easier to ask these questions when you are basking in the music of Tchaikovsky or in the tastes of pumpkin pie.