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The problem is that I have no way of knowing if the gift was enjoyed or if I should go in a different direction the next time. My friends and family tell me that they enjoy the gifts and thank me for them, but they are polite enough to do that even if I gave them something dreadful. I know that I should not ask if people liked gifts after I have given them, but I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, and I can let it go if need be. GENTLE READER: The charming custom of exchanging presents — as opposed to the decidedly uncharming ones of exchanging shopping lists or payments — has to involve informed guessing. You note people’s tastes, as you say, and hope that they will be pleased (and express gratitude either way).

By Sarah L, Kaufman | Washington Post, Her calves are cramping and her back is aching, but if Megan Johnson, a New York City Ballet dancer, peers through her false eyelashes at the first rows of the audience during any given “Nutcracker” performance, she remembers why she’s there, Standing onstage as a flower in her fluffy pink skirt and rose headpiece, she can see faces in the nearest rows, ballet flats target girls little children and even grown men who are completely caught up in the ballet, And she sees their joy..

Maybe this is their first ballet, and the tickets are expensive — all this passes through her mind as she stands there, which is a good thing, because if she were to think instead about the painful corns between her toes, or the fact that she’ll be stuck in this exact spot every night for the next several weeks, sometimes twice a day, year after year, another “Nutcracker” closer to death … well, then she might fall over, or miss her cue, or simply die a little inside from the grind of it.

For many families, “The Nutcracker” is a beloved holiday ritual, a respite from the season’s stresses, an oasis of beauty, innocence and poetry, For the dancers, it is a marathon of pain, physical and existential, It is a minefield of injuries, illnesses and choking hazards, It can be crushingly boring, It also involves incontinent children, One year, corps de ballet member Harrison Monaco was onstage with the rest of the cast in Miami City Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” It was the top of the second act, when the Sugar Plum Fairy is greeting young Marie (in other versions, she’s named Clara), the child whose Christmas Eve ballet flats target girls dream brings her toys to life and deposits her into the Land of Sweets, In his peripheral vision, Monaco saw a mop poking out from the wings..

A member of the backstage crew was frantically trying to swipe it around the stage between the rows of performers, out of sight of the audience, because one of the little angel dancers in her tiny halo and wings had left a pool of pee behind her. A few musical beats later, Monaco was leaping across the stage, dancing the Spanish variation, and — wouldn’t you know? — the half-swabbed puddle was right where he needed to land. “I did my thing, and then I had to kneel and I was thinking, ‘Oh, this is wet. Oh no!’ ” he says. “But I had to be on my mark.” Exiting, finally, with wet knees, he found his colleagues in the wings in fits of laughter.

Performing with children raises other issues, The norovirus, for instance, Now, no one’s saying that “Nutcracker” kids aren’t adorable, nor that they shouldn’t be part of this ballet, which is, after all, centered on a child, Also, kids in the cast guarantee parents in the seats; i.e., ticket sales, Dancers are well aware of the economics of “The Nutcracker,” that its long run of shows — a month or more — and its family appeal can help fund a ballet company’s more artistically interesting but financially riskier productions for the rest of the year, Appearing in the first-act party scene, or swooping around as an angel or one of the little tykes popping out from Mother Ginger’s skirt is also good performing experience for young dance students, So kids in the cast — by all means, yes, But there can ballet flats target girls be a cost, as the Boston Ballet discovered last year..

Dancer Lawrence Rines recalls that one of the littlest dancers was sick with norovirus, but he didn’t know it (yet), and he wanted to perform anyway. He threw up in one of the dressing rooms. “Then, like wildfire, it spread, and by end, like, over 200 people had it, including kids, their parents, dancers, artistic staff,” Rines says. “There was a bit of hysteria.”. A cleaning team came in. Dancers were ordered to stay home if they had symptoms. “I did hear of a kid in the wings taking the hat off the costume and throwing up in the hat,” Rines says. But no shows were canceled. They went on, of course, as they must.

For the professional dancers, the biggest “Nutcracker” woes involve their costumes, props and choreography, In the snow scene, for instance, little Clara encounters ballerinas dressed as snowflakes, whirling through a storm of silvery flurries, whipped along by some of the most gorgeous, ballet flats target girls dramatic music in the Tchaikovsky score, It is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, Yet for the women onstage, the snow scene can be a stone-cold killer, They’re circling around, jumping and spinning, desperate for air, but if they gasp, they’ll gag on fake flakes..