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November 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Announcing the winner of the 2013 Ballet Memories contest

Earlier this month, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” we asked readers to share favorite memories  (and photos!) of ballet — whether it be a holiday “Nutcracker,” a school recital, or just a bit of leaping around in the living room pretending to be a ballerina. More than 100 entries pirouetted into our offices, with tales of dancing snowflakes, tiny tutus, long-treasured visits to an annual “Nutcracker,” and worn-out ballet slippers never thrown away.

balletmemoriesIt was no easy task to pick a winner, but something about the three little girls in Tara Hook’s entry danced right into our hearts: a trio of deliriously happy five-year-olds, in party dresses and clutching ballerina cupcakes, attending their first “Nutcracker” and looking like some magical dream had just come true. Hook wins four tickets to PNB’s “Nutcracker” plus a $100 gift card to nearby Collections Cafe at Chihuly Garden & Glass; we hope she’ll find another night of magic.

Here’s how Hook described her photo: “To a five-year old, the theater is a magical place where stories come to life. My daughter Audrey and her two best friends all share birthdays in the same week at the beginning of December. For their fifth birthday, we treated them to a special evening — their first ‘Nutcracker’ performance together! The girls were so excited! I’d never witnessed such pure amazement and adoration on their faces as they watched the dance of the snowflake — at least until they each received their own ballerina cupcake!”

15Our runners-up also had charm galore, like this vintage entry from Anne Griffin: “My favorite ballet memory is being fitted for my first ballet toe shoes — they used ‘bunnies’ (rabbit fur) to cushion my toes. I loved the lime green with emerald trim Chinese costume I wore for my performance. Although I haven’t danced in decades, in my mind I move gracefully with the dancers as I watch “The Nutcracker,” remembering all the ballet positions as they dance. The drama, the music and the dancing take me to that special day when I proudly stood on point wearing my toe shoes.”

See the rest of the entries here. And find a long list of “Nutcrackers” and other holiday ballets here. And from all of us at The Seattle Times, may you have a delightful, dance-filled season.

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