No matter how many times I’ve seen the Nutcracker, it’s always my favorite production of the season. The performances are so much more than the magic and warmth exuded from the stage; they are a reminder of my childhood and the giddy excitement my parents patiently endured as I woke them up at 4 a.m. every Christmas morning. For me, none of our fundraising events encapsulate this feeling more than our annual Nutcracker Tea. Our wonderful Parent's Association works in partnership with our staff at the Tea to raise funds for our community engagement programs and to ensure that children (and adults) of all backgrounds have dance in their lives. This year’s annual Nutcracker Tea was held on November 18 at The Peabody Hotel, and saw a sold-out crowd! Children had a chance to take photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy, were treated to an assortment of decadent desserts, had tons of fun through games and prizes, experienced a short performance by Ballet Memphis, and had a chance to swirl on the dance floor with our gorgeous dancers. While the children all had a ball, it’s the community that really wins since funds were raised (half the ticket price went to our community engagement initiatives with additional money raised through its boutique sales and silent auction items).
I’m still fairly new to the Ballet Memphis staff, so this was only my second time to run the event. However, our Parent’s Association – all volunteers! – made the event run seamlessly, and made me look like I’ve been with the ballet for decades. It is their dedicated commitment that allowed this year’s Tea to have such a profound impact. That impact was evident through so many smiling children and delighted families that are sure to remember the event – just as I warmly remember holiday traditions through my very own memories with family.
—Cathy Hernandez, Director of Development