Ballet · Organization

Nutcracker Season!


Today I’m going to break down Nutcracker season for you all, and tell you what I’ve learned from the crazy, busy time of year.

So, Nutcracker season is the time of year that dancers both look forward to and dread. It starts in early September or even late August (too early for anything Christmas, am I right?) with some type of audition or placement. The audition is basically like a class where you learn small parts of the Variations (dances) in Nutcracker and the directors see which role suites you best. The audition has always been the scariest part for me. It’s even scarier than performing.

Next is…the wait. You usually have to wait to find out what role you’ve been assigned for 2-3 weeks! It is kind of frustrating to wait at times, but you always survive.:) When the cast list finally gets posted, you start prepping for the role. I prep for a role by listening to the music of the part, thinking about the character and the acting side of everything, reviewing the story of Nutcracker, and planning my hair and makeup according the costume of the part.

After that, rehearsals finally start. By now it is about mid-to-late September. Rehearsals are every weekend, usually lasting all afternoon. Keep in mind that dancers also have weekly technique classes that have nothing to do with Nutcracker. I’m currently taking 3 ballet classes a week in addition to rehearsals.

Sometime during the rehearsals, costume fittings take place. Costumes have to be taken in and let out in time for picture day. By the time picture day rolls around,  it’s about Thanksgiving time. (My picture day was yesterday). Toes are sore, brain is generally tired, but the end goal is in sight.

After a little break, tech-week arrives. Let’s just say it’s exhausting. Full run-throughs of the show take place at the theatre during this time. The dress rehearsal is usually on a Thursday, then the show(s) are during the weekend. Performing takes a lot of hairspray, bobby pins, and courage, but it is all worth it in the end when someone in the audience genuinely enjoys the show.


By now, you probably have a bit more appreciation for any kind of production that you take the time to go and see. Work, work, and more work. It’s really insane, but the most important lesson that I’ve learned from Nutcracker season is to stay organized! During anytime in your life that is extra busy, organization is key. Here are my top 5 tips for staying organized:

  1. Buy a good planner. I like the Well Planned Day high school planners. You can purchase one at
  2. Make Sunday your “planning day” Make yourself plan on a certain day of the week that is less busy. Write down everything you have going on during the next week.
  3. Sticky notes. Use sticky notes to remind yourself your top priorities for the week. If I need to write an essay that is due on Friday, that is a top priority, over something like going shopping. You’ll remember to do things like shopping  anyway, so just write down the things you’d tend to forget and stick them somewhere you’ll see them everyday.
  4. Reward yourself for completing more difficult, less desirable goals. Say you really need to get something done, but really, really don’t want to do it(eg. that essay you have due). Tell yourself that after you get it done, you’ll go grab something out for dinner, or bake some cookies, ect.
  5. Make long-term goals. Such as, “by the end of the month, I’m going to read these two books.” Or “by the end of the year, I’m going to learn how to play the guitar.” This helps you make time for things you never thought you’d get to.

Let me know in the comments if you find any of these tips helpful! Have a fantastic day!:)

❤ McKinnlee


7 thoughts on “Nutcracker Season!

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