Nutcracker Survival Tips

Nutcracker season is in full swing! We asked Boston Ballet principals (and siblings!) Lia and Jeffrey Cirio for their best tips about how to survive and thrive during the run of performances. Be sure to catch Boston Ballet’s brand-new Nutcracker November 23-December 30.

Lia Cirio in rehearsal. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

Dance Spirit: What’s your favorite Nutcracker role to dance?
Lia Cirio:
I know most dancers love Sugar Plum, which I enjoy, but I’ve always been more drawn to Dew Drop and the Snow Queen. Mainly because of the music–I feel like it flows through my body nicely.
Jeffrey Cirio:
I don’t really have a favorite–I like them all. I used to love to dance the Harlequin Doll role because I would be done after the first act!

DS: How do you fuel your body each day during the grueling season?
LC:
During the Nutcracker season (and any other performance season) I eat bananas and drink coconut water to keep my body fueled with potassium.
JC:
I just eat lots of food. Well, maybe I eat more cookies!

DS: How do you keep each performance fresh?
LC:
It’s always rough doing 40 or so shows, but I try to remember that every show is someone’s first time seeing ballet and you have to make it special for them. Nutcracker helped me fall in love with ballet, and now I’m living my dream. Who knows–I could be helping someone else’s dreams come true! I also try to appreciate the beautiful Tchaikovsky music.

Jeffrey Cirio and Mikko Nissinen. Photo by Gene Schiavone

DS: What’s the hardest part of Nutcracker season?
LC:
Trudging through the snow! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk through a blizzard and then dance Sugar Plum!
JC:
When it’s mid-season and you realize you still have 20 shows to go!

DS: What’s the best part?
LC:
Glitter! I love getting to sparkle for the audience, especially the children.
JC:
The fact that it’s Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of year, filled with faith, love, family, friends and children.

DS: Is there anything you like to do outside of the theater to get into the holiday spirit?
LC: I love Christmas, so it’s not hard for me to get into the spirit. I love shopping for gifts for my friends and family, but I also like to make gifts, whether they’re scarves made out of t-shirts or zip-ups with painted designs. My friends and I also like to have tree-decorating parties while sipping hot apple cider.

DS: What’s the key to a successful Nutcracker run?
JC:
It’s important to remember is that it’s all about the children in the audience. We’re there to bring them joy.

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