Ballets for Children
Taking children to the ballet can be a challenge. Staged without words, and often lacking in explosive drama, it takes a unique child to sit still until well past bedtime on Fridays or Saturdays. The stories range from romantic, to adventurous, and even comical. Remember, ballet isn’t only for little girls – young boys and teens can also gain from exposure to ballet. These productions can often take on a dream-like quality and blow a child’s mind with the physical prowess of the dancers, the transporting sets and stunning costumes.
The staff at OSMD have gathered a collection of some of the most famous ballets, many of them big hits with kids. This upcoming year, the 2017-18 season, your family can attend Ballet Nebraska’s annual production of The Nutcracker in December, and another classic blending romance, comedy, and mischievous fairy activity in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Even though Coppélia was premiered in 1870, the plot would suit today’s Hollywood RomComs and is particularly suited for the enjoyment of children. A nefarious inventor-magician creates a beautiful life-like doll, Coppélia. A young man from the village falls in love with the inanimate beauty, and his jealous girlfriend works to foil the magician’s evil plan of bringing the doll to life. Watch: the San Francisco Ballet’s Promotional Video for the 2011 production of Coppélia https://youtu.be/vQIoBFpVtKQ
Perhaps one of the best known ballets, The Nutcracker is a perennial favorite during the winter holidays, as the plot takes place during a family’s grand Christmas party. During the festivities, our young heroine, Clara, receives a beautiful nutcracker from her mysterious uncle. After an exciting evening, Clara drifts off to sleep, and much like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, experiences a whole new realm of fantasies with her beloved Nutcracker by her side. Watch: the OKC Ballet’s promotional video for the 2015 production of The Nutcracker https://youtu.be/qhOAOTsElLQ
The Sleeping Beauty
Before the Disney movie, there was the ballet. The famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestrated the story to still-iconic melodies. After a scene covering the christening of princess Aurora where an angry disinvited fairy curses the child, the story jumps ahead to her 16th birthday party. Unlike the animated movie, Aurora’s finger gets pricked by a poisoned needle hidden in a bouquet, which sends her into a death-like sleep. A handsome prince must face incredible challenges to bring the princess and her court back to life with True Love’s Kiss.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (suggested as PG 13)
A story best suited for middle-schoolers and beyond, who may have already studied Shakespeare’s play, the ballet version is set to light and ephemeral music by Felix Mendelssohn. A comedy of romantic errors whereby supernatural fae-folk interfere with the lives of star-crossed lovers to hilarious effect. Watch: The New York City Ballet’s Promotional Video for the 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream https://youtu.be/PMR3iD4mQ98
Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s Cinderella was premiered with the Bolshoi Theater five years before the animated Disney film hit theaters in 1950. The two have very different atmospheres – no matter the romantic staging, Prokofiev’s 20th-century music, while tonal, lends a leery, turbulent, yet grand style to the entire story. With many comedic and fantastic elements, a production of Cinderella is a real treat! Watch: The Dutch National Ballet’s Promotional Video for their 2015 production of Cinderella https://youtu.be/N43SIkK-we4
Call the Omaha School of Music and Dance for ballet lessons for your son or daughter. We offer classes for all ages–including adults. OSMD’s ballet classes continue through the summer, and now is the perfect time to start! Register online, in person or over the phone, by calling (402) 515-9639.