Behind the Scenes with a Nutcracker Dancer

Kirstina Lind in Tomasson's Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson)

Our dancers are athletes, and Nutcrackeris their marathon! After weeks of rehearsal, our Company of 70 dancers must prepare themselves for a total of 3,007 hours of onstage ballet, with some members of the Company appearing in every single one of our 31 performances in December.

SF Ballet Corps de Ballet dancer Kristina Lind tells us about making it through the holiday season, ballet-style…


“I’ve been dancing Nutcracker for 20 years…

“...and my first-ever Nutcracker production was when I was four years old. I was a gingerbread cookie that came out of Mother Ginger's skirt. It was my first performance ever, and as soon as got on stage, I waved at my parents in the audience!”

“When I’m up there, all I can think about is…

“...all of the little girls in the audience who are experiencing the magic of ballet for the first time. It’s one of the best ways for me to mentally prepare for the first—or the thousandth—performance of Nutcracker: I get out there and focus on just how good it feels to perform. When I experience the joy of being on stage, I know I'll be able to physically and mentally survive the long run of performances.”

Kirstina Lind (© Erik Tomasson)

“My unexpected Nutcracker secret is…

“...sewing as many pointe shoes as I can. My body gets ready by itself just from the amount of rehearsals we have leading up to the performances, but I know that the last thing I'm going to want to do during the long month of December is sew all those ribbons and elastics on my shoes.”

“My secret for keeping going on extra-long performance days is…

“...eating fish with lots of fresh vegetables the night before. The day of the show, I make a fruit and vegetable smoothie to sip on throughout the day, and I make sure to pack lots of trail mix to munch on.”

“I have about eight parts in our Nutcracker...

“ I'm not dancing the exact same show night after night. To keep things fresh, I have a lot of fun connecting with the other dancers on the stage.”

“The secret in my dance bag is…

“ stockpile of Emergen-C vitamin supplement packets. The stale theater air inevitably zaps everyone's immune system at some point, so the extra Vitamin C really helps me.”

Kirstina Lind in Tomasson's Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson)

“After Nutcracker is over, the first thing I treat myself to is...

“...Christmas! Since we perform on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is our only day off until the end of the run, my family has started a new tradition: we wait until Nutcracker is over to all get together and celebrate Christmas. It's the best way to come home after a long month of performances.”

“To me, Nutcracker means…

...that music. Lots of costume changes. Blue Mirliton pointe shoes. Getting paper snow up my nose. Countless opportunities to enjoy performing on the Opera House stage. Being part of a holiday tradition.”


Tell us: what’s your #1 tip for making it through holiday season fit and well—whether you’re a dancer or not? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on social media!

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