My First Ballet – Sleeping Beauty

My First Ballet Sleeping Beauty

Last week I took my daughter to see the English National Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty.

This wasn’t just any ballet though, it was My First Ballet… created especially for children!

Adapted to an hour in length and with a narrator to help young audiences follow the story, it’s the perfect way to introduce children as young as three to the magic of ballet.

I took my daughter to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time 2014, and although she loved it, it WAS rather long and during parts of it her interest waned. That’s why I think the My First Ballet production is perfect!

When we arrived at The Peacock Theatre in London, the first thing I noticed was the amount of children! The auditorium was packed, a sell out, and the majority of it were kids! This immediately puts you at ease as a parent…. lots of children means you’re not panicking about your own child making too much noise, or fidgeting in their seats, as kids often do! Not that I worried about that with my own daughter, she’s 10 and can pretty much sit quietly if she needs to. But she did want to talk to me the odd time throughout the ballet, even if it was just say “Wow Mummy look at her!”

The Story: Sleeping Beauty My First Ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora, who as a baby is cursed by the evil Carabosse: on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. Fortunately, her godmother the Lilac Fairy alters the spell so Aurora will not die but will sleep for 100 years, only to be awoken by true love’s kiss.

As soon as the ballet started we were totally drawn in. The narrator made it incredibly easy to follow and the story moved along at a good pace. Visually, it was beautiful. The Narrator also blended seamlessly into the production and she was invaluable to the audience of (mainly) children… who knew exactly what was happening at all times because of her. There was also help to understand in the way of drama… the dancers used more gestures and expressions to portray what was going on and how they felt.

Another thing my daughter and I both loved was the fact that throughout the ballet, most of the girls wore actual tutu’s! I think children want to see tutu’s or ‘real ballet dresses’ as my daughter would say, as that’s what they expect the dancers to be wearing! It also makes for great viewing of the dancers legs and feet!

My first ballet sleeping beauty

All the dancers, I noticed, looked young, and that’s because they are! The My First Ballet productions are performed by second year students of English National Ballet School. This provides them with valuable rehearsal and performance experience within a touring company. It forms part of the high quality training the English National Ballet School has sought to provide to talented young dancers. This is a great idea because even though the dancers are truly brilliant, I believe it was easier for the little people in the audience to connect with them.

my first ballet

We loved the girl who played Aurora. She was rather small and looked like a normal teenage girl. Not too tall and skinny like many dancers, not that there’s anything wrong with that but again, I think this was a perfect way to engage youngsters…. the girls in the audience could envisage being her!

The set was stunning and the ballet kept us enthralled from start to finish. My daughter absolutely loved it and having given up ballet a couple of years ago now, mentioned returning. It left her feeling inspired!

My First Ballet is a great introduction to the world of ballet on stage to children. Girls and boys alike will be mesmerised by this beautiful experience.

Sleeping beauty is touring until July. To find your nearest theatre and book tickets, visit the English National Ballet’s website.

my first ballet

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