Yesterday I took Rachel, aged 6, to see her first ballet, Sleeping Beauty, at the Peacock Theatre in London. Part of the ‘My First Ballet’ series, these productions are specially designed for kids aged 3 upwards and feature a shorter version of the full length ballet with a narrator to help this young audience interpret the story from the dance.
And it was awesome. I’m never going to watch a proper ballet again. OK that’s a lie but I was both surprised and impressed with what I saw yesterday. I also learnt so much, and I’ve been a fan of the ballet for many years.
In this version the story is narrated by Aurora who is looking back on her life. Far from just telling the story she interprets the dancers moves, helping the audience to understand that the dancers aren’t just dancing but acting out ‘dialogue’.
The costumes were amazing and the dancers, technically still in training, were brilliant. In the second act we saw cameos from Red Riding Hood and the wolf, the Bluebird and Princess Florine and a particularly awesome piece of choreography featuring Puss in Boots and the White Cat.
The young audience loved every second of it. The kids were spontaneously applauding, surrounded by adults who were truly amazed at just how engaged their kids were. I only saw three kids being taken to the toilet mid-performance. That’s a seriously engaged audience!
There are additional resources on the English National website to enhance the kid’s experience including colouring, sticking and pictures. Even the program is worth the £5 price tag.
I can’t recommend going to see this ballet highly enough. It’s kid friendly but also great for adults. A proper family treat!
Sleeping Beauty is touring, returning to the Peacock Theatre in July this year. Click here for the tour dates.