In October, MCB found out that we would be getting the opportunity to perform 14 performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker outdoors in a specially built theater, located in a park. While I was ecstatic at this possibility, I didn’t let myself believe it was real just yet.
In November, the entire MCB company returned to the studios for rehearsals. Even with all the COVID protocols in place (physical distancing, dancing in masks), it felt unbelievable to be “home.” With so few performances, I hadn’t expected to dance much, but then the schedule went up and I was called to rehearse Dew Drop and Arabian Coffee.
A couple weeks later, I was scheduled for a Sugar Plum rehearsal. In these rehearsals, the artistic staff kept commenting on the fact that my dancing looked so different. I still can’t really put into words what happened, but I know that completely letting go of everything I knew about ballet and dance in general led me into a different phase of my career. When I thought I had lost everything, I got the opportunity to rebuild a mature Jordan-Elizabeth Long.
As I did my makeup and hair for my performance as Sugar Plum Fairy in the last performance of the run, I was overcome with emotion thinking about the parallel between that moment and the first day at the ballet bubble in Wellington. What I thought was gone forever had just been handed back to me, but I had become an entirely different person in the process. A year that I had originally felt was lost from my career actually helped me find the dancer I was meant to become.