Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Caitlin Peabody, of The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, on the Holiday Classic, "The Nutcracker"


by Sarah

This year marks the start of the second decade of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker, a unique Pittsburgh version of the holiday classic from artistic director, Terrence Orr.  The ballet is currently in full swing, since its opening night on December 7, 2012. Every year since 2002, the show runs throughout the month of December, giving families, couples, and friends the opportunity to experience this holiday tradition. To give you a taste of what the show is all about, we had the opportunity to interview a ballerina who is dancing as many as twelve different roles this season. Caitlin Peabody will be dancing almost every female role throughout the 20-show run this year, including Marie and the beloved sugar plum fairy.  

Caitlin, who has been with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's corps de ballet since 2009, says that what keeps her going throughout this season of The Nutcracker is the nostalgia she remembers from seeing the ballet as a child. "Knowing I'm bringing a little holiday joy to a kid out there, is what keeps me going every show. I remember that feeling of Christmas being so wonderful as a child. I want that to happen for all the kids in the audience." 

We recently did a Q & A with Caitlin to get to know her a little better, get the scoop on how the dancers stay sane during the longest running ballet they do all year, and even what her favorite scene is from The Nutcracker. As a little holiday treat from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Style + Wisdom, if you comment below with your favorite scene in The Nutcracker, you can win 2 tickets to see the show.  


Describe, in one sentence, what The Nutcracker is about: 
The Nutcracker is simply all about families and friends being together for the holidays to experience a bit of magic!

Is there any added pressure when dancing in a ballet that so many people hold close to their hearts? Or, is it mostly excitement?
I don't think there is any added pressure when dancing The Nutcracker... at least not for me. Knowing I'm bringing a little holiday joy to a kid out there, is what keeps me going every show. I remember that feeling of Christmas being so wonderful as a child. I want that to happen for all the kids in the audience.


Favorite Scene?
I love the snow scene. It's so beautiful, and I will never get sick of that music!


What has your training been?

I trained with Boston Ballet School.

You're from New Hampshire originally- do you ever miss it? What is something about Pittsburgh that makes you feel less homesick?

I miss New Hampshire all the time... It's hard to find much here in Pittsburgh that reminds me of it. Pittsburgh being a city, is everything New Hampshire is not. Though, I have found one thing that kind of works. I live in Friendship. So in the fall and winter, I'll go for walks around the neighborhood. When the leaves are all colorful and crunchy to step on.  In the winter, all the christmas lights on everyones houses... seems to bring a bit of New Hampshire comfort to me.

We will be watching you in costume and ballet slippers, but when you aren't performing, what item in your closet are you most attached to? 
I love my scarves! The ones that are attached all the way around.


What has been your biggest on-stage faux pas? Any embarrassing moments?
When I danced in Boston, I full out fell on my butt. Feet went flying in the air, people backstage even heard it... not a great moment.


This will be a 20-show run, which is probably hectic for everyone in the show- what are your tips for staying healthy with a hectic schedule?
To keep going during the month long run, I become very strict with my schedule. I try to keep a calmness about me. Take each hour by hour. Never think too much into the future, cause then you'll start freaking out about the difficult role you have to dance in a week, when you still have other ones to tackle right now! Plus I make sure to eat lots of protein, and get plenty of sleep on the day off.


How old were you when you knew you wanted to pursue ballet?
I knew when I was a freshman in high school. I had just joined Boston Ballet School and was watching the company perform Giselle. The moment those willies chugged across the stage, I knew!


For a lot of people in Pittsburgh, The Nutcracker is one of their favorite parts of the holiday season. What is your favorite part of the holiday season in Pittsburgh?
It's hard for me to pick just one holiday favorite moment in Pittsburgh. I love getting my tree and decorating it, and I truly love Christmas Eve. I get together with friends here who have no family around, and we cheers lots of yummy drinks and foods to the holiday.

You share a lot of healthy recipes on the PBT blog,- what was the last thing you made in the kitchen?
The very last thing I made in my kitchen was a roasted salmon filet with a yogurt pomegranate raita. Salmon is full of all that great protein and omega-3. Great for us dancers!


All things healthy aside, what is one guilty pleasure you can't resist?
I cannot resist anything Reese's. I love the Reese's trees this time of year. Then of course, there are the pumpkins and eggs at Easter. I literally have them stalked up in my freezer all the time.

TV show you are seriously addicted to:
I'm addicted to Chopped on Food Network and How I Met Your Mother. Plus The Today Show on the weekdays.


Your typical Starbucks order:
Double Tall Non-fat Pumpkin Spice Latte, when that's in season. This time of year is the same, but Peppermint Mocha. And for all the other non holiday days of the year... Caramel Macchiato.


Favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
A perfect lazy sunday would consist of cooking, wine, and a good book. Maybe throw in a good friend visit!


Lastly, what has been an amazing moment you've had while with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre? Anything that stands out?

Two moments stick out. Taking the bows at the end of a great performance when the audience loved it is the best feeling on earth. That feeling happened for me after dancing In the Upper Room my first season here and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan last year.

Comment below with your favorite scene in The Nutracker for your chance to win two tickets! We will announce the winner on Saturday Friday (December 14, 2012) morning! 

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