Every year, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet invites members of the public to be walk-on extras for their annual production of The Nutcracker. This year, yours truly is going to be one of the guests at the 'party scene' right at the beginning of the show.
Now, you have to understand, I spent most of my childhood talking to myself in the mirror and breaking out into spontaneous interpretive dances in the back garden. Whilst some of you would classify this as 'abnormal behaviour', I prefer to call it 'natural superstar quality.'
So I had no hesitation when Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancer Liam Caines
managed to convince someone important that I should be this year's walk-on extra.
Nadia trying on her costume (CBC)
Admittedly my 15 minutes of fame, is literally only for 15 minutes on stage, but I am positive my impact on my fellow dancers and on the audience will last a lifetime.
I wanted to think that I was breaking all boundaries by being the first brown person on stage for The Nutcracker
; but sadly the talented dancers at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet are so multicultural and international that I cannot claim this mantle.
I will therefore have to settle for being the first on-stage character wearing a hijab (headscarf). I am most grateful that Clara's family is so welcoming of all faiths and religions to their Christmas party.
My on-stage escort, the dashing RWB dancer Eric Nipp
was most helpful in directing me on stage during rehearsals: 'Enter Stage Left...Greet Clara's parents....Let the maid take off your coat...Take a glass of wine (non-alcoholic of course, I am a Muslim after all)....Decorate the Christmas tree....Have your picture taken...Exit stage right for dinner...Enter stage right...Smoke a cigar (fake of course, I am a lady don't you know)... But most of all: For God's sake: STAY OUT THE WAY OF THE DANCERS.' Ahem.
The dress rehearsal was last night, and I can't pretend I wasn't tickled pink at having my own dressing room (with light-bulbs around the mirrors and everything!). Waiting in the wings, watching the stage production crew wheel away props gave me butterflies: This was just like in the movies! Kind of like Black Swan
but without the psychotic ballerina.
Nadia Kidwai, SCENE Writer (CBC)
But what continued to blow me away was the sheer talent and beauty of the ballet dancers both on stage and off. Witnessing the effortless grace and poise of both the male and female dancers up close has been the most memorable experience thus far.
Well, it's opening night tonight, time to make my grand entrance! Wish me luck my dearest Scene readers! And tune in to SCENE tomorrow to find out just how my debut into the ballet world went!