Dance Education The Arts and Lifelong Learning

Making Magic!

It’s that time of year. Last week, I attended a performance of The Nutcracker in a beautiful setting—the Boston Opera House. In fact, holiday season inspired performances of The Nutcracker are taking place all across the country this entire month.

NutcrackersThe performances range from family living room renditions to beautifully crafted professional theater. One thing is common, however, and that is the magic—the pure joy—that attracts thousands to the story. That’s what is so engaging. With everything that is going on in our individual worlds, the chance to become absorbed in Clara’s world as she falls asleep with an unusual gift in her arms allows all of us to dream of a better life. Even though it is a story created from imaginings, the story itself gives us permission to dream a little for ourselves.

You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”
~ George Bernhard Shaw

As I watched the ballet, it occurred to me that it would be extremely valuable if we could all give ourselves permission to dream a little more often, not restricted by when the calendar of holidays tells us it’s acceptable. Imagination, dreaming, visualizing—these are important qualities, skills, and aptitudes artists and performers learn to use, and they use them every day. It’s what gives them the vision and awareness to create their art. Imagination allows artists to explore thoughts of things that aren’t real or present in their environments. What they dream or imagine comes from within rather than from something external.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
~ Michelangelo

Michangelo AngelWhat are some ways this aspect of artistic creation can be useful in your everyday world?

Imagining and dreaming help you:

  • Put your memory to good use.
  • Consider and create different scenarios.
  • Use your knowledge in new ways.
  • Create a new vision for the way you manage your life.
  • Challenge the status quo—to push boundaries and move forward.

Create a reality for tomorrow from what may seem impossible today.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

~ Albert Einstein

Nutcracker BalletAs magically as it began, Clara’s dream ends. In the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story, she wakes up at the end of her dream and everyone is left with the impression that her dream really happened. Myth? Magic? Reality? Frankly, it’s up to you! That’s part of the joy—the feeling of freedom that comes from dreaming, from bringing something imagined into your experience.

Everything you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso

While the ballet captures the imaginative mind and spirit of a child’s dreams, it’s important to understand from an artistic point of view that we don’t have to be a child to dream. The story is lovely and captures the feeling of childhood, but the dream of a child on stage also reminds all of us that we can create joy and magic in our own personal world regardless of our age. It may not be toys, animals, snow, dolls, and angels that we imagine and dream to magically transform our lives. Whatever it is, however, we’re all artists who can choose to create our own lives. Remember to make magic and let your imaginings be worthwhile. When you do, your days will be much more fulfilling, interesting, and productive. You’ll find you’re more motivated and content.


One reply on “Making Magic!”

Pat, Your posts are a refreshing rebuttal to the persistent “be productive” refrain in my head! Thank you. I know that the dreaming and creativity you address in your blog posts are more important in the long run than whether I get another e-mail written. I just need to hear such counter-messages more often–and your posts provide an inspiring invitation to stop, be, dream, create.

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