I know the Magic of the Holiday Season is all around. And the Nutcracker contributes to spread it. Millions of people around the world have been watching the Nutcracker Ballet with their children on and on. Some have even made it a yearly family tradition. And every year is the same tune, you can find tons of Ballet’s Performances, and millions and millions of tickets are being sold.

But wait! It doesn’t mean you should blend in with this superfan crowd.

 

Here are 7 reasons why you shouldn’t get these tickets, especially with your child.

1./ Tchaïkosvky, music composer, created the music piece in 1962. But at that time, the original production was not a success at all. Even the composer himself was not impressed by his creation! So if the composer himself didn’t like his creation, why should you?

– Well, since the 1960s, the Ballet has become very famous and successful with all the talented choreographers, dancers and musicians, who have brought this show to another level. As the story takes place during the Christmas Season, it had to this spirit of the season with a journey through magic and fairies, with cultures of the world. It’s in fact a fantastic escape for the audience to travel into this magical dimension. Bring your child with your to live this wonderful journey, and you’ll reinforce the bond.

 

2./ It’s a Ballet. Not everyone is into ballet. All those tutus, spins and buns. Not sure my child will be impressed.

– Well, prove me wrong! The dancers are talented performers, even the younger ones. They’ve been training hard to take you into the story with them. The tutus on top of other magnificent costumes and scenery create the magical adventure where everything is not all about pointe shoes and fairy. Witness the tension between Clara and her brother Fritz. Discover a strange toymaker who makes toys dance on their own. And the famous battle between the Nutcracker’s army and the Mouse King’s army, can you really imagine a Mouse King with bun and tutu? Not really, right? This show is much more than just a ballet, it’s a fascinating combination of reality and dream. And children will automatically be captivated by the story and dance, whether they are boys or girls.

 

3./ Classical music is played for the whole show, no dialogues nor talks. Just classical music and dance. Not everyone is into classical music. So is this show is for people who appreciates classical music?

– The music piece is arranged for a philharmonic orchestra, meaning lots of violins, violas, cellos, flutes, oboes, horns and trumpets, timpanis and many more instruments. Actually you may be familiar with some of the music pieces (i.e. The March or the Waltz of the Flowers) that have been used for commercials and movies. There is another famous music piece with an uncommon instrument: the celesta. And this melody has been used and reused for decades. Even Cyrus (dancer from the show So You Think You Can dance) made a buzz by dancing on this melody.  Tchaïkovsky in fact composed remarkable music sets that embark you into the several parts of the story without noticing it. From the festive party danced by the family, children and friends, to a more mysterious part with Drosselmeyer – the fascinating toymaker. Plus the second part is rich with music styles of the world : China, Russia, Arabia… You won’t get bored, as each piece flows naturally from one story part to another and so on until the end. Classical music enthusiast or not, you’ll like it. And you’ll give an opportunity for your child to grab that music experience in so many ways. Music exposition is key for his/her development.

 

4./ A 2 hours show is way too long for your child. It must be too stressful for you- parent- to monitor each change of attitude that is not in line with the etiquette of this kind of show. You can’t ask him/her to sit still and remain quiet for the whole time without trading your phone or Ipad, right?

– Actually, your child (and I mean a child above 3 years old) can easily dive into the story from the beginning to the end without boredom’s moaning or tears. And your child doesn’t have to be into ballet or classical music to enjoy it. The key is pre-pa-ra-tion. As you won’t throw a birthday party to your child without preparation, it’s the same when going to this kind of show.  Prepare to build anticipation and excitement. And during the show, you can have plenty of opportunities to re-engage your child into the story at the very first sign of sight. Grab your Nutcracker Parent’s Cheat Sheet: a parent-proof guide for a successful show without tears and stress. Your child won’t beg you to go home at the intermission!Because sadly, it happens! I’ve noticed last Sunday that seats went empty after the intermission!

In this Cheat Sheet, I show you all the steps to do before the show, arriving at the venue, even at the intermission and you’ll grab bonuses for endless discussions and activities around that theme after the show, for hours, days even months later!

 

5./ When you go to this kind of show and venue, you have to dress up. And to be tight in clothes you barely wear will be very uncomfortable for 2 hours. And can you imagine this torture for your child?

– For most venues, you have to dress appropriately. If you and your child feel like dressing up, do so. A nice dress or suit, and maybe your child will add an accessory (a sword as for the Nutcracker and Mouse King’s fight or a crown to be the Snowqueen ). If your child feels like wearing a loose pant, that’s fine too. Whether you and your child decide to dress up or down, the most important thing is to wear something comfortable to sit.

 

6./ The show is way too pricey for the whole family. Is it really worth it?

– Sure it can be very pricey, but depends. A full-length show can have several price ranges: depending on the venue, the performers (from big ballet companies to ballet clubs), on live orchestra or not. And of course, it depends if you buy tickets in the front row versus a bit more on the back. By the way, sitting in the back could be a great option to better enjoy the whole scenery and maybe spot the orchestra (if there is one). So calculate your budget and check the best prices options. You’ll sure to find something in your budget to live a spectacular experience with your family.

 

7./ The show might be not appropriate for your child. Even if children are performing in the show, it doesn’t mean it’s child-appropriate. Do you remember all these scary movies with bewitched kids? Well, those aren’t movies for young children, right? So is my child ready for the Nutcracker?

– The full-length show is 1h40 with an intermission. Children under 3 might not be the best audience because of attention span. You’ll better check child’s version which are shorter and easier to follow. Prepare your child with the story before (get your Nutcracker Parent’s Cheat Sheet) as some scenes might be confusing or a bit scary (i.e. the growing Christmas Tree, the fight between Mouse King, his mice army against the Nutcracker and his toy soldiers army). You know your child best and his/her own sensitivity. Leaving dramatically the venue because your child was screaming ad nauseam when the Mouse King appeared is not an experience you’d like, right? Knowing what to expect in the story and discuss about it will definitely create more anticipation and excitement than confusion. Again pre-pe-ra-tion! The Nutcracker Parent’s Cheat Sheet is your best partner!

 

 

The Nutcracker is not for you and your child if:

  • you don’t want to experience together a magical journey between dream and reality to reinforce your bond.
    Even if you know that quality time matters.

 

  • you don’t want to expose your child to a fascinating and enchanting classical musical composition and fabulous ballet that will leave sparkles in his/her eyes and beautiful sounds resonating in his/her ears.
    Even if you’re aware of the positive benefits of arts and music for your child’s development.

 

  • you don’t want to engage endless discussions and activities after the show.
    Even if you know that sharing experiences with a child is more important that having him/her play on a screen.

 

  • you don’t want to print a memorable moment in his/her mind that he/she can tell years later.
    Even if you know that you can’t go back in time and wish you should have bought those tickets!

 

If you’re excited to share this adventure with your child, like many other families in the world, including us (family of 4), then embrace this journey and explore this fascinating world. Get some preparations ahead of the show with your Nutcracker Parent’s Cheat Sheet, so you’ll build anticipation and excitement. And by the end of the show, the journey will keep going on for days, weeks, even months later.

Get your tickets to for the Nutcracker Ballet and get this Parent’s Cheat Sheet too.

Keep all the fairy, the magical memory, not the stress nor the drama!

Happy Holiday Season!

 

Read more about our experience of our first Nutcracker ballet with our 3 and 7 years old children.