Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker is coming to the Triple Door (216 Union St) December 10th-26th. Land of the Sweets has been running since 2006. Today, My Ballard is profiling Tory Tiara, who is a major presence in this production, and a Ballard resident. She is a former Spectrum Theatre dancer, who currently dances full-time for Whim W’Him, a contemporary dance company, as well as Verlaine & McCann company’s productions. Read below for a Q&A with Tory Tiara.
MB: I understand you’re a Ballardite. How long have you lived in Ballard?
TT: Three years ago I bought my home in Ballard and have been happily drinking local beer out of mason jars, raising chickens in my backyard and frequenting the Sunday farmers Market ever since. I grew up in a small town in Oregon so Ballard feels like home, metropolitan living with a small community atmosphere.
MB: How did you get into dancing/what path brought you to dancing? Any interesting jobs before performing?
TT: I’ve studied classical ballet since I was a really little girl, so most of my life has been dedicated to my love of performing. At the age of 4 I asked my parents to sign me up for ballet classes, they did so at the local Rec center and the rest is history.
Early in my career, to support my starving artist lifestyle I worked at a discount shoe store, I was a secretary at a law firm, I nannied (my favorite job besides dancing) and I even washed towels at a spa (that lasted 2 days, I’m more of a spa goer). Now I’m happy to say I do nothing but dance full time For Whim W’Him (a contemporary dance company) and Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann’s many productions.
MB: What’s the most interesting/best part of your job?
TT: The experience of performing for a live audience is always different, always exciting and always a challenge. I never tire of it and am always astonished at the new things I learn every time the curtain rises on a show. From how to navigate a costume malfunction to something more personal like over coming the fear of being vulnerable in front of people.
MB: What’s the most memorable show you’ve danced in? Any interesting stories?
TT: This show is truly one of the most memorable shows I’ve had the honor of being in. Every year we perform the show over 30 times throughout the holiday season. Sometimes performing the entire show three times in one day! The whole cast becomes a family backstage and it’s those moments of eating dinner together, laughing and loving one another’s company that stands out in my mind.
Interesting stories? We like to keep the allure of glamour alive for our audience but we are human and to be human is to error. There are so many costume changes in the show we sometimes forget to put a piece on, so every night before the curtain rises we do a “panty check” where we ask each other if we have our panties on. It has happened more than once that with moments to spare someone has dashed back to the dressing room to put their bottoms on. We like to tantalize but we don’t go full monty!
MB: What can the audience expect from the show?
TT: This show is the perfect way for adults to enjoy the good parts of the holidays. It’s sexy, over the top and most importantly full of humor. You can expect to enjoy a beautiful cocktail while we let you forget about holiday shopping lines, family conundrums and the long dark days of winter.
For tickets and information, click here. Early shows are 17+, and late shows are 21+. Tickets range from $40-65 depending on date and time of performance.
Photos courtesy of Scott Butner.