There are many wonderful stories that have either been created for the ballet or adapted to the ballet. Here you will find a few ballet stories that are great for children that I love to talk about in class.
The Shadow Dance at the première of the ballet Ondine, choreography by Jules Perrot and music by Cesare Pugni.
When ballets began the stories did not necessarily relate to the music, dancing, costuming or scenery. Gradually as we go through history these elements start to intertwine to create a complete theater experience.
Now no longer is each element separate when you go to see a ballet. Dance is not just for dance sake. The dancers must become the roles that they play. They must be good actors. The music must convey a mood so that the audience feels what the character feels. The same goes for the costumes and scenery. How does the stage look? Is it bright and happy or dark and mysterious. It also must go with the story. Of course there are dance pieces and ballets that are more experimental. The story may not seem to fit with the music or the background. There may not even be a story. The choreographer is usually trying to get some kind of message across. However it may not be as obvious as the traditional ballets. For now, I am not referring to those.
Parents have asked me what is a good age to start taking your child to a ballet. First, you know your child. Is your child able to sit for long periods? How interested are they in performances, especially watching ballet? From personal experience my parents took me to see The Nutcracker when I was five and I loved it! I think it would be a good idea to start with local ballet schools around your area and see if they perform special ballets just for children. Some schools perform ballets for children that are shorter in length and more animated. Videos may be a good place to start as well. They don’t have that special feeling that live performances do but you can see how interested your child is in ballet and start to expose them to this wonderful art form!