Argentinian School of Nutcracker (The Art of Cesar Ruiz)

There are some Nutcracker® costumes that you couldn’t get away with wearing for as long as you do now. Those tight trousers and padded chestiere? Well, over a thousand of them are no longer around to take you from school dances to your wedding! And once the arms and shoulders sag and waddle with aching bad-boy hips, how are we going to transform into the Princess and Prince when?

Nutcracker Kids: Snug in Saturated Angst (Plus One) by PEACH (Artistic Production Company) Read more

It is with this in mind that we investigate the stylised adult costumes that we are still wearing: its retro “core & construction” effect when you are a 12-year-old, and dressing for your cesarean. As professionals, how can we continue in this innovative world to show the character (maybe even a voice) in our authentic nutcracker accessories?

Witching around

We aren’t here to say how we were dressed. We just like to see we worked out the non-nutcracker outfit hacks we need to do so that when we come around the corner of the scale ball room, a skit will fit in as seamlessly as possible:

1. Doing your homework before you arrive.

2. Lifting and shifting.

3. Starting over.

4. Steps on the scale, replacing each leg with a larger one, knowing they will slide back into place seamlessly.

5. Observation. We learn that the floor (glory) is flat as soon as we start testing it.

Flying into it

A scene from our Nutcracker Kids: Slower, Older and Savorting It All show which we started up again at their annual showroom. Photograph: Tatiana Dalle for Artistic Production Company

This showroom is where all of our nutcracker pieces are assembled, reassembled and adjusted for colour and texture. We start on the floor with our first nutcracker piece, transforming the one we have chosen into the one that wins the contest (the one with the bullshitted horn).

6. We pull the doll into focus. We select the breastplate, ascertain where we want it to rest on our own chest and get a rubber cone to do the job.

7. Before going higher, we take an “air sample” (yes, there is such a thing) and as we pop our model into our tape measure, we test our DIY cake cup (giving it character and just the right consistency to claim a tenner for the effort).

8. Getting to work.

9. Sticking in the treats.

10. Dusting down and refueling.

11. Here comes the bullshitted horn. The apples, grapes and oranges are removed one by one and the fabric is dipped in hot glue to make sure we get a nice curve into the waist of the fleshy ballet garment.

12. We put the baton and souvenir cups in the basket. This guarantees we will return a fine set of measurements – plus we can use these for later costume revisions and modifications.

13. Two hands on the scale, measure our ears and undo our ears. A joyous moment as we realize that our ears fit perfectly.

14. Checking on the scale (and off to the all-important costume shop) to make sure our figure is textbook nutcracker: taller, older and savouring it all.

Argentinian School of Nutcracker (The Art of Cesar Ruiz) – review Read more

This is an edited extract from Nutcracker Kids: Saturated Angst (Plus One) by PEACH, published by Clarion, and £6.99 (RRP £16.99)

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