We're Loving These Nutcracker-Themed Holiday Treats
'Tis the season to have some fun in the kitchen. If you want to get more creative than simply baking another pumpkin pie, try these Nutcracker-themed treats—created by and for dancers. These recipes from former Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet dancers were first published in Dance Magazine's December 1990 issue. Today, they're still guaranteed to turn any holiday party or dressing room into a true Land of the Sweets.
Mother Ginger Snaps
Courtesy Boston Ballet
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp each: ground ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon
In a separate bowl mix:
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
Mix together wet and dry ingredients. Blend until dough is smooth. With a teaspoon, form dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in sugar and place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until brown. Let stand for five minutes, then remove cookies carefully. Yields four to five dozen.
American Ballet Theatre soldiers, via BAM
Mix in a medium bowl:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch or potato flour
- 2 3/4 cup extrafine sugar
- 8 egg whites (add two at a time, beating well after each addition)
- 3/4 pound finely ground almonds
- 1/2 pound finely chopped candied orange peel
Press mixture through the cone of a pastry tube onto a buttered and floured baking sheet, using a decorative tip to create the shape of a soldier (1 1/2 inches across at most). Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove carefully from sheet while marzipan is still hot. May be decorated with colored sugar. Yields four to five dozen.
Waltz of the Flower Petals
San Francisco Ballet in Waltz of the Flowers. Photo by Erik Tomasson
- 3 dozen unsprayed rose, violet or other flower petals
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup superfine sugar
Choose the petals for color and beauty of shape and make sure they are completely dry. Beat the egg white very lightly. Brush each petal with egg white on both sides and dip it lightly in the sugar. Put the petals on cake racks and dry them in a cool, dry place for two to three hours or overnight. Use as decorations for cakes or pastries.
Mouse King's Cheesecake
Pacific Northwest Ballet's mouse king. Photo by Angela Sterling.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tsp lemon rind
Mix together in bowl and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes, then press into an ungreased glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla
- raisins, if desired
Place cream cheese in a bowl and let stand for several hours at room temperature until very soft. Mix in sugar and yolks. Beat whites until stiff and fold into batter, a little at a time. Add vanilla and raisins, if desired. Pour into baked crust and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
English National Ballet's Fernando Bufala. Photo by Dave Morgan
Brew strong tea. Place 1 tsp whole black cherry preserves or red plum preserves in a glass, and then fill glass with the tea.
Frothy Spanish Cocoa
San Francisco Ballet, photo by Erik Tomasson
Whip cocoa and hot low-fat milk in a blender. Garnish with a zest of orange, cinnamon or a toasted marshmallow.
Fragrant Arabian Coffee
Oregon Ballet Theatre's Kathi Martuza, photo by Blaine Truitt Covert
Brew strong coffee. Crush four cardamom seeds in a cup and add zest of lemon before pouring coffee into cup.
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Over the past 15 years, Gesel Mason has asked 11 choreographers—including legends like Donald McKayle, David Roussève, Bebe Miller, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Rennie Harris and Kyle Abraham—to teach her a solo. She's performed up to seven of them in one evening for her project No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers.
Now, Mason is repackaging the essence of this work into a digital archive. This online offering shares the knowledge of a few with many, and considers how dance can live on as those who create it get older.
The way we create and consume dance is changing every day. Now more than ever, the field demands that dancers not only be able to perform at the highest level, but also collaborate with choreographers to bring their artistic visions to life. Dancers who miss out on choreographic training may very well find themselves at a disadvantage as they try to launch their careers.
When a musical prepares to make the transfer from a smaller, lesser-known venue to Broadway (where theaters hold 500-plus seats), often there's a collective intake of breath from all involved. After all, a bigger house means more tickets to sell in order to stay in the black, and sometimes shows with even the most tenacious fan bases can't quite navigate such a jump. But what about the transfer from stage…to screen? Is Broadway ready to be consumed from the comfort of your couch?
Daphne Lee was dancing with Collage Dance Collective in Memphis, Tennessee, when she received two difficult pieces of news: Her mother had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer, and her father had Parkinson's disease, affecting his mobility and mental faculties.
The New Jersey native's reaction: "I really need to move home."
It's not often that a promising choreographer gets to stage work in a world-class theater, on a skillfully-curated program with professional dancers, and with the possibility of winning a substantial cash prize. But at the McCallum Theatre's Palm Desert Choreography Festival, that's been the status quo for over twenty years.
Since Shea New, the festival's artistic director, founded the festival in 1998, she's worked tirelessly with McCallum's director of education and festival producer, Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, and stage manager and festival production manager Joanna Fookes to build a festival that nurtures choreographers, highlights high quality work, powerfully engages the local community and cultivates an audience base for dance in the Coachella Valley. The trio is backed by a strong team of professionals at McCallum and the brilliant volunteers from the local and national level who serve as adjudicators.
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Summer is almost upon us, and whether you're a student about to go on break or a pro counting the days till layoff, don't forget that with warm weather comes a very serious responsibility: To maintain your cross-training routine on your own.
Those of us who've tried to craft our own cross-training routine know it's easier said than done. So we consulted the stars, and rounded up the best options for every zodiac sign. (TBH, you should probably consult an expert, too—we'd recommend a physical therapist, a personal trainer or your teacher.)
It's become second nature in dance studios: The instant anyone gets hurt, our immediate reaction is to run to the freezer to grab some ice (or, more realistically, a package of frozen peas).
But as routine as icing our injuries might be, the benefits are not actually backed up by scientific studies. And some experts now believe icing could even disrupt the healing process.
I'm a contemporary dancer, and I'm nervous about trying to get pregnant since I can't predict if it might happen during the middle of the season. We have a union contract that is supposed to protect us. But I'm scared because several of my colleagues' contracts weren't renewed for no particular reason. Having a big belly could be a big reason to get rid of me!
—Andrea, New York, NY
When the going gets tough, the tough start dancing: That's the premise behind "Dance of Urgency," a recently opened exhibit at MuseumsQuartier Vienna that features photos, video and other documentary material relating to the use of dance as political protest or social uprising.
The groups featured in the show, largely based around clubs and electronic dance music scenes, span the globe and respond to a variety of issues—from inequality and social stratification to racial divides to crackdowns on club culture itself.
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, fabulous ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several of our faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list:
When you're a foreign dancer, gaining legal rights to work in the U.S. is a challenging process. It's especially difficult if you're petitioning to work as a freelance dancer without an agent or company sponsorship.
The process requires professional muscle along with plenty of resources and heart. "There's a real misnomer that it's super easy," says Neena Dutta, immigration attorney and president of Dutta Law Firm. "People need to educate themselves and talk to a professional."
Here are four things every foreign dancer who wants to work in the U.S. needs to know to build a freelance dance career here.
What does it take to "make it" in dance? It's no secret that turning this passion into a profession can be a struggle. In such a competitive field, talent alone isn't enough to get you where you want to be.
So what kinds of steps can you take to become successful? Dance Magazine spoke to 33 people from all corners of the industry to get their advice on the lessons that could help us all, no matter where we are in our careers.
On May 18, 1919, Margot "Peggy" Hookham was born. She would grow up to become Dame Margot Fonteyn, England's first homegrown prima ballerina. She joined the Sadler's Wells School in 1934 and was performing principal roles with the precursor to The Royal Ballet the next year. Fonteyn was a company-defining figure, dancing Aurora for the re-opening of the Royal Opera House after World War II, creating numerous roles with Sir Frederick Ashton and forging a legendary partnership with Rudolf Nureyev.