Nov 25, 2015

day one {nutcracker}

The most wonderful time of year, indeed.

start the day of our first dress rehearsal with a solid breakfast... it's my favorite way to eat: big breakfast, a small lunch, and a few snacks like almonds, fruit, or yogurt pre-performance. (PS: don't worry, only one of those is mine!)


last night's blocking session... warm-up in the wings as rehearsals take place.

(photo courtesy of Caitlin Bernard)
names have been drawn and the traditional company Secret Santa is underway... truly one of the best ways to bring the group together in the midst of all the craziness that is Nutcracker.

Nov 24, 2015

move-in day

The final run-through at our home studios... Terrifying when it goes badly, and so deeply reassuring when it goes well. How the run goes truly dictates how you're going to feel walking into the auditorium. Thank goodness it was a good day with two solid runs of the show and a smooth load-out.

photo courtesy of Maine State Ballet

an empty storage room

the process

By Saturday's end we are out of our home studios and theater in Falmouth and by 8:00 AM on Monday we're well moved into Merrill Auditorium. I walk through the rehearsal hall doors to meet the familiar, comforting, and nerve-arousing smell of a musty old theater, and it is so beautiful. With no less than six packed bags (not counting my purse and backpack), I hobble through the hallways to the company dressing room where I am privileged enough to have the coveted "sink spot" offering two chairs, a plethora of space, a lit mirror, a trashcan within reach, and of course a sink. It's a pretty great set-up! 

I told you I was going to reduce the amount I packed this year and believe it or not, I think I did.

There is something about this time of year that truly is magical. It's overused and over-said but it's true. It's incredibly special to be a part of something bigger than oneself; a part of something that brings people so much joy; a part of something in which you are given the opportunity to give. Every bead of sweat, every blister, every injury we bear is to give: to give to the community, to give to our family, our friends, and even to ourselves. Each year I am reminded of this and each year I find myself grasping tighter to the experience.

We are so lucky.

Some years I'm hit hard with the grandeur of the whole ordeal and consequently find myself emotional all the time, and some years a subtle twinkling trails behind me everywhere I go, reminding me of the other world I'm a part of. An old-timey world of tradition, magical fairies, beautiful creatures, and fantasies come alive. As I walk through the motions of a normal college student's life, sometimes I'll hear the twinkling and smile to myself, missing that world all the more.

Along with the Nutcracker season comes the glorious excuse to explore and enjoy the greater Portland area. Lovely lunches, frigid walks through the city that I've somehow come to view fondly, spur-of-the-moment Christmas shopping as we encounter a store we simply cannot pass, and gazing upon the winking lights Portland kindly adorns its foliage with. 



a large portion of the backstage help is volunteer... how much we owe to them!


Nov 23, 2015

the 5 nutcracker must-haves

What ever could be on a Sugarplum or Dew Drop's packing list? Well, lots of things. But here are the things every Nutcracker ballerina can't and shouldn't live without.

1. Arnica

No smell, no stickiness, no pain. It's like Tiger Balm without the tingling. When I'm feeling the twinge of my Achilles tendinitis or ache in my lower back (something I've been battling all season), I reach for the arnica gel. You can find this at your local pharmacy.

2. ELF Makeup Palettes

I don't perform without it. Every ballerina needs choices for her makeup and an Endless Eyes Pro Palette is just the ticket. And the price you can get them for at elfcosmetics.com can't be beaten. Makes the perfect Secret Santa present!

3. Gaynor Minden Performance Tights

I came across these not long ago and now find myself wondering where they've been all my life. You get the sleek look of having tights in your shoes without the bunchy and (to me) unbearable handicapped feeling. I bought myself three pairs to get through the Nutcracker season and I am just pleased! I'll be accumulating more throughout the new year without question.

4. Knot Keepers

Every dancer knows them and I have yet to come across a dancer who doesn't love them. Gone are the days of reluctantly trusting hairspray, eyelash glue, and even stitches to hold in your ribbons. I love Knot Keepers but if you're not a fan of the price, some clear Band-Aids may just be the solution for you. It's virtually the same product at a fraction of the price and they're available anywhere. So in those unsuspected moments of need, you won't be left empty handed with your pointe shoe ribbons flailing all over the place.

5. A Really Great Pair of Leg Warmers

Every ballerina needs that one pair of the perfect, comfy, go-to legwarmers. Whether in between acts or just roles, it's so important to keep your body warm. One of my favorite pair was actually handmade by a friend, so sometimes to find the best new addition to your dance wear wardrobe, you don't have to look far. One of my other favorites is the full legwarmer by Rubia Wear. You'll likely always catch me in either one of these cozy creations.

Nov 19, 2015

tutus, tunics, and toys

Hello, friends!

I know, I've been skimping on the posts the last couple weeks. We all know what happens when mid-November hits. As our bodies creep into hibernation mode, clinging to the warmth of our sheets as the alarm blares, the outside world seems to plough forward, gaining speed every second.

Quizzes, papers, exams, pointe shoes, rehearsals, classes,  classes, and more classes, so much to do and no time for all of it. Something always takes the shaft and I'm determined to not let that be this. I feel like a master juggler at this moment with a human resources textbook under my elbows, my blog at my fingertips, and a web design class surrounding me... Is multitasking a skill I can plug into my resume? I'd say yes. This isn't distraction, mind you, it's time management... right?

My stockpile of Nutcracker goodies is growing and Saturday is load-out day. For those of you that may not know, load-out day is the magical Saturday when we do our last run-through of The Nutcracker at our small in-house theater in Falmouth, Maine, pack up the storage room full of tutus, tunics, and toys into a few loading trucks, and move it all into Merrill Auditorium on Monday.

This doesn't exclude the dancers! We pack up our dressing rooms and relocate to Portland. It's a bustling and joyous day, so please stay tuned to hear all about it.

Hoping everyone is sipping that frothy cup of holiday cheer and is just as excited for the approaching time of utter stress, exhaustion, and bliss as I am.

A photo posted by Rhiannon Pelletier (@rhiannonkpelletier) on

Oh! And lastly, how amazing are these customized Bella t-shirts courtesy of MSB's artistic director? I'm swooning.

A photo posted by Rhiannon Pelletier (@rhiannonkpelletier) on

Nov 14, 2015

inspiration {a day in the life of a ballerina}


"I'm realizing that I will actually get closer to the performances I want to give by letting go of trying to be perfect."

Words that have helped me get through a week of rehearsals, so I thought I'd share with all of you.
Enjoy ~

Nov 11, 2015

falling into place

When you find the right one, everything seems to fall into place.
(excuse the autumn pun)

 A heaping thank you to my wonderful Uncle David at David McLean Photography for helping us capture and celebrate this wonderful time in our lives.