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Good first ballets to see live


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There seem to be a lot of posts about good videos, CDs, and books for early dancers. Anyone have any tips on good ballets for very young dancers to see live?

We've seen The Nutcracker and I think Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet might grab the attention of little dancers. Any other suggestions?

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The first ballet we took DD to was Nutcracker, when she was almost four. That next spring we took her to see Sleeping Beauty. Both were fine, with a little prepping beforehand so that she knew the basic storyline and what to expect. I bought her a children's picture book of the Nutcracker prior to taking her.

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Romeo & Juliet might grab the attention of little dancers.


Romeo and Juliet might be a little bit heavy for the younger dancer. It is an extremely dramatic story and the music is equally emotional - at least for me anyway.


In addition to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella comes to my mind as a ballet that would appeal to younger kids. La Fille Mal Gardee and Don Quixote might also be good choices with their lighter story lines. Coppelia could be a good choice although the workshop scene might be creepy or scary for a child - I guess it depends on the kid.

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The funny thing about Nutcracker: when my daughters were little they loved the first act with the party children, dancing dolls, and battle scene. Just as I settled in to watch the second act, which for me usually has more interesting dancing, my daughters started to get bored. Now as teenagers they appreciate the entire performance, and we have seen many Nutcrackers!


I also agree that Cinderella is a good choice.

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I agree about Coppélia. Peter and the Wolf might be a good one too, if they don't get scared too easily.

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depending on what is available, but if possible we have seen Peter Pan and there were scads of kids of all ages.

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Peter and the Wolf might be a good one too, if they don't get scared too easily.

I forgot all about that one! Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions, keep them coming!

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Sleeping Beauty is very long, so not the best choice for all young ones (or old ones like my husband), purely for that reason. I did take my kids when the little one was pretty small - she managed ok through the show, but wasn't feeling well that day and was worse the following day. :ermm:


The other posters made good suggestions for a first ballet.


I would also suggest researching the specific production you are going to see. The first time I took my older daughter to the Nutcracker she was 5. (I think I have told this story before..) We listened to the music and read the story for weeks before the show. It was a lovely production, but not a mouse in sight!! You can only imagine the frequency and quantity of 5 year old questions!!



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I agree about researching the specific production. Romeo and Juliet can be pretty heavy but some productions can be pretty steamy also.


I also think what you mean by young. Young like 5, young like 10?

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I was a subscriber to Boston Ballet for a number of years. Sometimes I would see parents bringing small children to performances, and wonder, "what were they thinking?!" But I cannot recall hearing any of the little ones fuss during any performance.


On the other hand, two adults sitting next to us during "Sleeping Beauty" slept through a good portion of the show...

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Swan Lake was the first one my kids saw. They got bored at times but overall they loved it and have good memories of the occasion.


I think any ballet with a strong story line is a good first ballet. When preparing them for Swan Lake (and, later in the year, Nutcracker) we read the stories several times to familiarize themselves with the plot. And, we listed to music a lot so they were familiar with the main themes. They always were thrilled when they recognized the theme songs being played.

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La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, and Nutcracker were among the first professional performances my children attended. They seemed fine with the length of the acts because we discussed what an intermission was and they took advantage of getting up to stretch, etc., before settling back in for the next act.


My children have enjoyed repertoire performances as well (i.e. those including The Four Temperaments, Jeu de Cartes, Stars & Stripes, etc.).

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My DD's first ballet was Romeo and Juliet. They did not get bored and followed the story well. We'd given them the kiddie version of the story and reminded them of the happening to come between acts. As far as a story goes it's no scarier than any fairytale be it Sleeping Beauty or Peter and the Wolf.


My own personal first was the Bolshoi's Swan Lake. I was very young and it was long before I started ballet classes. I have vivid memories of the whole exprience. Other ballets seen when young include La Fille mal Gardee, Coppelia, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. I didn't see Nutcracker until I was an adult. My daughters didn't experience it until they were in it.


If a child loves dance, movement and theatre I believe any ballet with a story line is an excellent choice. The experience of sets, costuming, lighting I believe is the clincher.

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All of the above are great suggestions.


I have a son (now 17) who I hoped would be a "theater" kid, but to no avail. I first took him to a small private showing when he was 3-6 months old. As soon as the house went to black he went ballistic and we had to leave. So much for a theater kid! Too many sensory integration issues. As he got older I would select specific ballets for him to see. He would enjoy the 1st act of Nutcracker and then we would leave - I knew there was no way he could attend an entire performance. I liked rep programs - I knew he would love "Fancy Free" - and he did. "Mom, those guys got great air," said my son the skateboarder. He liked "Billy the Kid", "Rodeo", "The Green Table", you get my drift!


I accepted the fact that he would be unable to sit through a whole program and never pushed him to. By the time he was 11 he sat through an entire evening of Renny Harris' "Rome and Jules". He and two 13 year old boys loved every minute of it. Afterwards we went backstage and they met the dancers and got autographs.


So if you have boys who are into that sort of thing, or girls, I suggest taking them to short ballets they can relate to and then, when they start to appreciate what they are seeing, you can begin to introduce them to more classical repertory.


Of course, some kids do great right away with the full length story ballets. Know your child and be kind to yourself and the rest of the audience!!!

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A small local company in our area does The Frankenstein Ballet every October. Preteens that I know have enjoyed this as a first ballet!

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