Joie de Vivre

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The Prima as the Maid. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Todd Paris, Paris Photography: https://parispub.smugmug.com/

 

I have this fascination for a sense of joie de vivre; this feeling of pure joy, and before that the anticipation of joy, which I can try to explain as excitement. The anticipation of joy is just as important. There are several examples of these anticipations that has become a lost form of emotion these days–

The time of year when Halloween is over, and you know that the holidays are around the corner.

That moment when you are waiting for a loved one at the airport, and as you stand there scanning the people arriving through the doors, you look for a familiar face anticipating that moment of recognition.

There’s that second when you watch a soccer ball aimed at the goal, and you hold your breath hoping that it will lead to a goal.

Or how about that moment when your name is about to be called as recognition for something you worked so hard to accomplish?

I feel that these tiny little moments are so fleeting that they sometimes become similar to a rare unicorn sighting.

Therefore, I appreciate them with such magnitude that I become giddy like a teenager who realizes that she’s about to be the recipient of a new iPhone.

Youth sometimes has a way to make you believe that joy is never ending, and that there’s plenty of joyfulness to always be available at your beck and call.  However, as we all know, with wisdom and maturity that comes with age, we sometimes find ourselves battling to find the joy after experiencing sadness or devastation or disappointments.  It becomes more difficult at times to think of things that brings that such blissfulness.

So, we try.  I try all the time.

I’ve become aware of the importance of finding joy in the littlest and most simplistic of things, and I relish it every second.

In our household, a clear indication that the holidays are around the corner begins sometime in October when the Primadonna spends her days at her ballet school rehearsing for the annual NorthStar Ballet production of The Nutcracker choreographed by her long time teacher Mr. Norman Shelburne. The production itself requires hours of rehearsals in addition to the hours put in by many volunteers which comprises of parents, and members of the community.

It is a certain frenetic craziness and busy-ness when I volunteer for stage make-up that I know one reason is because since the Prima has been dancing in the production that these moments I get to spend with her are becoming rare every year as she gets older.  As a sophomore, this means that she has two more years of dancing in the production, and we all know that two years is merely a blink.  Even more so, there is a profound beauty among the intricately woven choreography that goes on behind the scenes that parallels to the choreography performed on stage.  I find every dancer who sits in my chair giddy with excitement for their performance is truly a sight to behold, and to watch these dancers grow up each year is truly remarkable.  There amidst all that beauty, I find pure joy.

The volunteer work on the production is merely the indicator of the most festive time of the year.

Years ago, I had this profound epiphany that I took for granted that my children will always be home for the holidays—that I would have all three of them laying their heads under one roof—until the eldest one couldn’t come home for the holidays because of his job, and I felt for the first time that sense of realization of how those moments when they were all there on Christmas morning waiting under the tree to open their presents may never occur again.  It was then that I told myself that from that moment forward, I will have a greater appreciation for every joyous moment that I experience.

For me such moments are amplified by a million beautiful things during the holidays.  This means the house metamorphosize into this land of Christmas.  My husband, on the other hand, the constant adversary to my ideas will dive into a cesspool of tantrums where I would find items duct taped together as his version of la piece de resistance –more like a la rebellion.  But, like all good husbands—the idea that such simple things brings his wife such great joy—he really can’t argue with—even though he rolls his eyes whenever I find a new piece of decoration to add to the trees.

Here’s a simple truth: we should never find an excuse to find joy in the little things—it’s because the reality that such joy may not be there tomorrow should encourage every one of us to reach out for it whenever there’s a possibility for that second, or that moment when nothing or no one could take away your joie de vivre.

 

When everything becomes bright and sparkly..

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Let there be light! When Christmas trimmings are up! December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

 

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The Golden one. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

 

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The Family Memories Tree. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

 

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The Primadonna Ballerina Tree. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

 

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The Cheery and Bright Tree. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH.

 

The NorthStar Ballet’s Production of The Nutcracker

 

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Showtime. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by JAH. 

 

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Dew Drop and Flowers. The Prima (middle on the right row) as one of the Flowers. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Todd Paris, Paris Photography: https://parispub.smugmug.com/

 

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The Maid and Clara. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Todd Paris, Paris Photography: https://parispub.smugmug.com/

 

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The Maid, Clara, and Fritz. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Todd Paris, Paris Photography: https://parispub.smugmug.com/

 

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The Prima as the Spanish Dancer with her dance partner, Jorden Majeau (from Ballet West, Salt Lake City, Utah). The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Todd Paris, Paris Photography: https://parispub.smugmug.com/

 

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The Marzipan treats. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska.

 

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The Spanish Dancer’s Fan. The NorthStar Ballet’s The Nutcracker. December 2018. Fairbanks, Alaska.

 

A lasting note on The NorthStar Ballet….

The beauty about the school is that is a non-profit organization focused on preserving, educating, and cultivating the art of ballet. The production of the Nutcracker involves the artistic directors, staff, and the many volunteers. If you find yourself in Fairbanks, Alaska in early December, the Nutcracker is a must see show. To learn more about the The NorthStar Ballet in Fairbanks, Alaska, please visit their website at https://nsbfairbanks.org/

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