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Subject: "First ballets" Archived thread - Read only
 
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cclayt

15-07-01, 09:26 AM (GMT)
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"First ballets"
 
   Any thoughts on what is a suitable age to take a child to the ballet for the first time? obviously a lot depends on the child her/himself, but I would be interested to know what people think


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: First ballets Jonathan 15-07-01 1
  RE: First ballets PJK 15-07-01 2
     RE: First ballets Claire S 15-07-01 3
  RE: First ballets Caitlyn 16-07-01 4
     RE: First ballets alison 16-07-01 5
         RE: First ballets Jonathan 17-07-01 6
             RE: First ballets Helen 17-07-01 7
                 RE: First ballets Paul A 17-07-01 8
  RE: First ballets margaret.lumley 17-07-01 9
     RE: First ballets Robert 17-07-01 10
  RE: First ballets Angi 18-07-01 11

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Jonathan

15-07-01, 11:20 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #0
 
   I've been taking one of my neices since she was about 5, and highly recommend it. Although I've always been poised ready to take her outside if she gets too bored, it's never happened. If anything, she's far more willing to give something a chance than I am! At one workshop-type performance, she even complained "is that it? But it's not long enough to be a ballet!"

Without any 'educational' stuff from me or others, she's become quite an afficionado, and seems to enjoy the experience of simply watching dance (she'll be brutally honest about what she thought was good and bad afterwards, though). Perhaps more to the point, she adores going out, and loves the intervals and meeting people.



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PJK

15-07-01, 02:03 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #0
 
   It does, of course, depend on the individual child, but also on the production itself. My own son and daughter were taken to a Nutcracker when they were nearly 5 and nearly 3 respectively and still remember 'the rats coming out of the fireplace'! They both went on to have classes themselves and have retained an interest into adulthood. I have recently had the enormous pleasure of taking my 5-year old grand-daughter to the Kirov Sleeping Beauty - not her first experience of going to the ballet which was a small-scale Nutcracker when she was 3 - but she sat completely silent and entranced throughout the almost 4 hours of grand spectacle. There were, of course, 3 intervals in which we were able to show her around different parts of the theatre and talk to her about what she was seeing on stage. I feel confident that this experience will remain with her as a very special memory and hope that her enthusiasm will continue as she is growing up. There were other children at this particular matinee who were more vociferous during the actual performance and I realise that this might not be acceptable to other members of the audience who expect to watch without interruption, but it would have been hard not to smile at one small child who uttered a loud Teletubbies-style 'Uh-oh' at the entrance of Carabosse!

Some theatres have a policy regarding the presence of children under a certain age, but I have to say that we found the staff of the Royal Opera House to be very child-friendly which all helped to make the afternoon most enjoyable.

Incidentally, my own first experience of going to a ballet was when I was 6 and on holiday in Devon. I had spent the morning playing in rock-pools and kept a bucket full of crabs under my seat throughout the perormance!!


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Claire S

15-07-01, 09:55 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #2
 
   It depends on the child, but I would say La Fille mal Gardee is the perfect ballet for any newcomer. It's funny, touching and yet has wonderful choreography that the audience appreciates almost without noticing. I often think The Nutcracker is a bit slow, but I have been wondering whether Don Quixote would be a child-friendly ballet.

I actually introduced one of my nieces to the Royal Ballet at a triple bill of Les Patineurs/Enigma Variations/Birthday Offering. She was enthralled (she was about nine then) by seeing some dancers in two or three different roles so she could see a comparison. And she became a Sarah Wildor fan just from seeing her in Birthday Offering. I suppose a charismatic dancer can capture a child's imagination in whatever they do . . .


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Caitlyn

16-07-01, 07:33 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #0
 
   As someone who has sat near some irritating kids at times, I think it's safe to take any child when she/he is able to concentrate for longer periods and can sit reasonably still - and when she/he doesn't insist on lollies during the performance. The last point goes for adults as well!! But a lot has to do with the ballet and the adults accompanying the children. I remember one performance when I had a little girl sitting next to me. Her grandmother made no attempt to help her understand the story or the actions so consequently she kept asking about what was happening and got very restless. My vote still goes to Nutcracker as one of the best first-ballets for children, as well as La Fille and Swan Lake. Personally, I thought Grigorovich's Spartacus was fabulous when I was little, although the full implications of the story took a while to sink in! As others have said, a child's age isn't the only consideration. I remember some pre-teen girls who giggled right though Kylian's Bella Figura until I finally told them to shut up.


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alison

16-07-01, 01:14 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #4
 
   I couldn't agree more, Caitlyn, especially after one hellish performance at Sadler's Wells which involved at least one child who could have been scarcely more than 2 years old - obviously the adults couldn't find a babysitter. The children kept playing musical chairs (I can't see! I want to sit next to Emma!), standing up on the seats, and being fed crisps, sweets and what have you by their parents every 10 minutes or so. They were all obviously far too young to be going to professional theatre, and it really wasn't fair on them, let alone the rest of the audience.

But getting back to the question, I agree about Fille. Not so sure about Sleeping Beauty - there's so much dancing and so little action in it that a child might have difficulty concentrating. Something they can follow easily without programme notes, I suspect. (And definitely not Mayerling - I've heard some horror stories about parents wondering how to explain the on-stage goings-on to their children. I also heard that some parent had complained on the basis that since it was a matinee she assumed it was suitable for children - obviously hadn't read the blurb in the leaflet!)


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Jonathan

17-07-01, 11:36 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #5
 
   In fairness to 2-year olds, I should point out that Dame Alicia once had to be told to shut up by a Festival Hall usherette at the request of one of the regular punters who objected to her commentary on Les Sylphides, and that choreographers, ballet masters and ex-dancers often sit through performances going "Oh God! Did you see that! What's she doing? Why's she gone off? Who's that at the back with the leg-warmer on for God's sake? Who taught her that version?! Remind me to tell her to come further on next time. Ooh, nice one! She's done that every rehearsal since we started. I give up. God, that's fast. What's that? We never did it like that" and so on.


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Helen

17-07-01, 12:04 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #6
 
   Sounds like me at a concert!

I started going to ballet at about five and always loved it. I do remember getting into trouble for talking, though - I was over-enthusiastic! I didn't like intervals - just wanted the ballet to start again.

I don't think such an early start works for all children, though - you have to judge the child. The thoughtful, imaginative and musically inclined like it. The ones who find it hard to sit still are best taken when they are older.


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Paul A

17-07-01, 01:59 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #7
 
   Anything with colour and energy. Fountain of Bakchisarai did it for me (at the advanced age of 15) after dutiful attempts to grapple with the classics (admittedly on TV). Also remember Elite Syncopations opening my eyes to ballet as a live art form.

These days how about Still Life at the Penguin Cafe? Fille of course, Coppelia - and advice from a mum with two young (fractious girls!) is that anything with lots of solos (eg Beauty) is a turn off.


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margaret.lumley

17-07-01, 08:33 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #0
 
   My daughter was taken to see her first ballet at 4. It was Alice In wonderland and she loved it. Her father and I were terrified she would get bored and get distracted- but mercifully it didn't happen

Her second ballet was The Nutcracker at 5 which is suitable because it has nice costumes and is not too long. It also helps if she knows the story.


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Robert

17-07-01, 11:40 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #9
 
   There were a few children at the Images of Dance programme in Reading last night. I guess they were bored with the Cathy Marston and Christopher Hampson ballets but they certainly seemed to appreciate Wayne Sleep's Wizard of Oz. I cannot see many children enjoying the other Wayne - Macgregor! I would have liked to have taken my grandchildren to Alice, I liked it but with Derek Deane in the doghouse I suppose it is lost forever.


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Angi

18-07-01, 11:45 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: First ballets"
In response to message #0
 
  
I have just been taking my little nieces (8 and 5) to
Neumeier´s "Lady of the Camelias", and although they
didn´t really understand the story (thank god...) , they
were absolutly fascinated and just loved it !!
And they´ve kept dancing the whole day...
But I think it has to be a matinee, at this age, it´s to
hard to concentrate until ten or eleven o´clock...


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