blizzards of truth



Dearest Clara,

Tuesday it snowed in the night.

And around here that is rare enough to elicit a feeling of magic.

That tingling in the air that means wonder is just around the corner, and anything is possible.

Tonight we add to the magic as our theatre, just like theatres everywhere, fills with an audience ready to be swept away. Ready to see how dreams are realities. How sugar plums dance. How rats fight soldiers. How dragons come to life.

And yet, for us, it is different. For the cast it is about timing. And footwork. And spacing. Strong cores. Long necks. Elegant arms. It is about how hours and hours and hours of hard work now appears effortless. How sweat seems to shine.

Life is often like this.

When we look at the storybook of others, we only see the images on the page. We never see what happens backstage. And it is easy to assume there are no falls, no missed steps, no partnering work that doesn’t, well, work.

But it does. Everyone’s life has a backstage. A place where our real work happens. A space where we do most of our living, fumbling around in the dark.

On the Christmas Eve of our story, I want to give you this gift. A snow globe. It is an invitation to live in a place where the storybook and the backstage are one. In a snow globe, there are no dark corners, no places to hide. In a snow globe, life is lived in full view. And magic is still possible.

So tonight, let the audience see your passion, your work, your grace, your effort. Because the most powerful way to tell a story is to include both tenderness and strength.

In the days, months and years ahead, may this gift remind you to live your life in the light. To allow your family and friends to see beyond the facade to what is actually happening. To put your toil and struggles front and center along with your elegance and joy.

And if one or two are unsupportive? They simply aren’t the right audience for you. Gently step away and wish them well. Then welcome in newcomers, those who celebrate both your vulnerability and power. And watch their lives as well, for the best community is built upon each member holding one another’s heart tenderly in their hands. This is the truest magic. Love.

With all of mine,


Mama Stahlbaum

{This is the 5th year I have performed in The Nutcracker, and the third time I’ve written a letter to the two young women dancing as Clara.  Here’s a link the one from last year, and the  the original.}

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