Before the Show
Here are some tips to minimize the fuss and maximize the fun of your ballet-going experience.
Before you leave home...
• Look online. Check the venue’s Web site for information about the ballet you are seeing—story and/or theme—and about the composer(s) and choreographer(s).
• Dress thoughtfully. No formal wear, but do dress nicely (business attire or Sunday best). To ward off air-co chill, bring sweaters or jackets.
• Arrive early. Thirty minutes is ideal. Latecomers are usually not seated until intermission. If you have time, let your kids explore the venue. Hit the bathroom before taking your seats.
• Turn off, tune in. Switch off your electronic devices, then make sure your kids have turned off theirs. Warn them not to text-message or take photographs during the performance.
• Bone up. Read the program. Go over the story and characters with your kids. Play “I spy” with any set pieces visible on the stage.
• Don’t miss this opportunity! Some dance companies offer preshow discussions before selected performances. You and your kids might even be able to attend a dress rehearsal (check the company’s Web site).
During the Show
After the curtain rises, remember...
• Don’t snore! Or talk, eat, text, or drink. In short, model good behavior for your kids.
• Do clap! Dancers appreciate applause, so feel free to clap and cheer after a solo dance or particularly impressive move. If the performance includes a live orchestra, also applaud when the conductor takes the stand in the orchestra pit, both at the start of the performance and after intermission.
• Don’t miss this opportunity! If your kids want to meet the dancers after the show, wait outside the stage door exit and politely request an autograph.
Deepen your family’s dance-going experience through discussion and at-home activities.
• IMHO. Urge your kids to share their impressions of the show. Which part did they most enjoy? Were they able to follow the story? If they saw a full-length ballet like The Nutcracker, discuss how the various characters were represented in dance. How did the movements and the music work together?
• Compare and contrast. Most famous ballets have been filmed by multiple dance companies. Watch a DVD of the ballet you saw performed by a different company. How did the two performances compare?
• Make memories. Create a ballet scrapbook or journal. Paste in ticket stubs, programs, photographs, autographs, etc. Include favorite moments and other impressions.