The Sketch Book


Here’s a sketch of Clara I created for a ballet school in my hometown to help them celebrate their 2012 production of The Nutcracker. Is anyone going to see the ballet?

I am dying to go, I say this every year, and then I never do it. I think subconsciously I have a block against it because I know that it wont be MY version of the Nutcracker and I’ll be disappointed.

Growing up as a ballerina meant that The Nutcracker outranked Christmas and my birthday combined. I lived for it. LIVED FOR IT. It was the single most important part of the year, and finding out what role I was cast in was essentially how I evaluated my entire existence and progress as a human being.

I guess, I was a little bit unhealthily obsessed. I owned multiple books and videos all documenting various versions of the ballet and I would pour over them again and again trying to distinguish all the discrepancies that made each story a little different. No version will ever be as perfect as the one I grew up dancing. I could probably still act the entire thing out for you right now if you put the soundtrack on.

So this one goes out to all you Claras out there. We’re the ones who really know what Christmas is about – magic and wonder.

10 Responses to “Clara”

  • this is absolutely gorgeous, Inslee! I go every other year to the Joffrey Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker here in Chicago – I do that to keep it a little more special :)

    and I know exactly what you mean – I was a dancer as well but my studio never put on a production, and I was always soooo envious of my friends who did get to do it, year after year. I am partial to Balanchine’s version because I watched the VHS tape of that over and over when I was little (the one with Macaulay Culkin as the Prince!) but the Joffrey’s has won me over with their incredible costumes and sets and of course, their dancing abilities :) I love dissecting the differences between each version I’ve seen.

  • I love this Inslee! It might be my favorite.

  • it’s adorable. Love it!

  • Is this available as a print?? Love it!!

  • The Nutcracker brings back so many great memories! I saw it at Lincoln Center when I was little and it was easily the most magical moment of my life!! I can’t wait to go back one day. You have to go!!

  • This is beautiful! I’ve been hinting to my boyfriend that I want to go see The Nutcracker this year and he has blatantly ignored me every single time! I’m just gonna get all dressed up and take myself :)

  • Ah this is great! I love it! I’m clara in my school’s ballet production this weekend! I didn’t know you danced! What parts did you have??

  • Sell this as a print! This ballerina would love to buy it!

  • maybe my favorite post you’ve ever written :) i share your obsession and understand that no nutcracker will compare to MY nutcracker that i grew up dancing! would love to buy this as a print!

  • You are truly gifting! I have just spent the last 15 minutes browsing through your sketches and am amazed! I have a Christmas party on my blog and would love it if you linked up.

    I really hope to see you there! Once again, these are so amazing!

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