The Sugar Plum Fairy

When Jasmine had been four, her parents had taken her to see a production of the Nutcracker. She had been utterly mesmerised from the start of the overture to the conclusion of the finale and had been besotted and bewitched by the Sugar Plum Fairy. Afterwards all she had said was, “I want to do that!”

So she’d started ballet classes, at first just fun ones but then more seriously. At a certain point, discussions were had between her parents and her dancing teacher. They led to auditions and she earned a spot at a prestigious ballet school on a full ride scholarship. She learned other forms of dance, did yoga once a day, kept her place, year on year, moving up the school until she graduated from school to ballet company.

“And now, here I am.”

She’d danced other roles in other ballets, she’d even performed other roles in the Nutcracker, but this was the one she’d always wanted, from the age of four, when she hadn’t known anything more about it than the pretty costumes and lovely music. When she’d had no knowledge of the work involved.

She’d got here.

True, she was the understudy, stepping in because the prima ballerina who usually danced the role was sick. She wasn’t the lead cast with her name up in lights, but Jasmine didn’t mind that. The tutu was stiff; the wig and makeup, heavy. This was the far less glamorous side of the job, but she wasn’t complaining. Somewhere, out in the audience, there was another little girl falling in love with ballet who was about to see her dream role and for that Jasmine was prepared to handle everything and anything.

For this night, she had the opportunity to dance the role and inspire another little girl, just as she’d once been inspired. Jasmine smiled. The first notes of her solo were sounding. It was time to go on.

The ethereal tones of the celesta chimed out and the Sugar Plum Fairy danced and when the music had finished and the applause had started, at the back of the auditorium, a small girl turned to her father and said, “I want to do that!”