Have you ever watched the Fort Wayne Ballet Nutcracker live? Especially when the Fort Wayne Philharmonic is accompanying the dancers? It is truly a treat. The evening starts as you file into the Arts United Center and find your comfy seat, preferably towards the center of the aisle, so you can watch the whole stage below. The Philharmonic musicians tune up, practicing trills and riffs of familiar, wintry tunes. You see children and their parents in the seats – or almost there, getting coats and hats stashed away before the lights go out. Everyone is waiting in excited anticipation for the show to begin. Then the musicians descend into the orchestra pit, right in front of the stage. Kids and adults murmur as the golden music stand lights slowly sink behind the high railing around the pit. The theater dims. A few announcements are made. And then, the music starts. There’s something so calming about the lyric strains of Tchaikovsky’s music. Gently, the flutes introduce the audience to a scene of snow and festivity; the dancers slowly pace towards the family Christmas party, where Clara will receive her nutcracker. As a member of the audience, you settle in, thinking “Oh how neat – look at the costumes and families on stage!” You might even try to recall the specific ballet steps you’re seeing. You notice the conductor’s baton flickering up and down, against the winking stand lights. A trombone bell glistens from the shadows. But there comes a point when you forget that you’re just watching. You become part of the Nutcracker. The story and the show sweep you in. It’s like participating in a different reality for a little bit. Suddenly, all the worries about the season disappear. Instead of thinking about shopping and car repairs, you begin to suspect the treachery of the evil mouse king. You silently wait for the rescue of the nutcracker prince. You grin with anticipation at the arrival of the Sugar Plum fairy and Mother Ginger. Clara, when she wakes up at home again, is no more surprised than you are to find that it’s still night and the world hasn’t changed that much! Attending the Fort Wayne Ballet’s Nutcracker performance, with the live music of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, is an unforgettable experience. Try it out – you never know, it might be snowing just a little when you leave the theater. The light dust of snow just extends the magic, as though you are walking into your own land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Dates when the Fort Wayne Ballet will be performing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic are as follows: Friday, December 6, 2013 7:00 pm with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Saturday, December 7, 2013 2:30 pm with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (followed by Sugar Plum Party) Saturday, December 7, 2013 8:00 pm with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic For more information on the Fort Wayne Ballet Nutcracker, visit their website. For even more great HolidayFest events check out Visit Fort Wayne!