All the students are in the opening and closing numbers. The show opens with the beautiful snowflake dance and powerful soldier dance (in which the children are bedecked with tinfoil covered swords). Then different groups come on and off stage for various dances. How cute is it to watch tiny 3 year olds, even when they just stand there and look around and wave?
Because the classes perform the Nutcracker every year, the students get to try each dance depending on their level. It is a right of passage for Kindergarten girls to finally get to be the Sugarplum fairies. True to Montessori, the older students are so familiar with all the dances, they easily help teach the younger students and have even had to fill in on stage last minute due to emergency absences.
Backstage at the Nutcracker is the craziest, most stressful, frenzy-filled 90 minutes you will ever experience. Trying to seamlessly get 40 children on and off stage at the correct times with lots of quick costume changes involves a lot of organization and volunteers. Dress rehearsal is usually a disaster every year. Teachers are panicked. Somehow it all comes together the day of the show. By the time is over, everyone is thrilled. The parents love it. The teachers are exhausted. And most importantly, the students are proud of themselves. They love being in the Nutcracker. Now let's get Nutcrackering!
Stephanie Stephens and Holly Fitzharris are both Montessori educators- collectively with over 30 years of experience in education.