By guest blogger Grace Murphy, Grade 8

To me, love has so many different definitions. Love is a feeling, an enormous, immeasurable feeling that overcomes everyone’s thoughts many times. You can love a person, like your family and friends. You can love a certain place, you can love a feeling, a food, a movie, a book and so much more. Something that I absolutely loved doing was dancing in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker as a Party Child at the Fox Theatre last year.

Dancing at the Fox was an experience of a lifetime. I adored the exquisite decorations and elegant interior inside the theater. I thought that the sparkly blue ceiling with twinkling lights in the theater was gorgeous. When I was in the Fox, I felt like a true professional.

Backstage was a whole different story! It was not as appealing as upstairs, but we did not mind at all. All the girls (and a few boys) were so excited. Before the show started, people were rushing around doing hair, makeup and putting on costumes. I loved my costume. All the girls told me that they wanted to have my costume next year. It was a turquoise blue color with gold accents. It felt so delicate. My headpiece was slightly uncomfortable, but it looked fabulous with the dress. Getting ready for the show to start was probably one of my favorite parts of the experience.

After everyone was ready, we all ascended the steep stairs up to the stage area. While I walked to my starting place, I watched all of the company dancers stretch and warm up. This is when I got a little nervous, but after my first show, it was not so bad.

After about five or so minutes of waiting in the dark with some of my fellow cast members, we could hear the director of the show, Sharon Story, give her speech to the audience about no cell phones and how hard we had worked and finally, to enjoy the show. After that, the lights dimmed and the music started. I could hear the sounds of the people playing the characters who were supposed to be outside. After about a minute, the curtain started to rise and the lights went up. The music for our scene commenced.

I waited for my cue, and when I heard it I walked on with the lady who was supposed to be my grandmother. I was finally on the stage! Being on stage was fantastic. When I looked out into the audience, I could only see the people in the first few rows because of the bright lights in my face, but I could tell there were a lot of people out there.

I felt like my time on stage flew by far too quickly. Leaving the stage was a bit scary because it was pitch black and there were men moving scenery around. When we got down to our room backstage, we pretty much played around until the show was over. Throughout the whole process, all of the party children became good friends, and we all had a blast. This is definitely a memory that I will love forever.

Last year, Grace was a Party Girl. This year she is a Munchkin. See if you can pick her out of the crowd at this year’s performance.