Parenting is a huge journey of unknowns. It’s a relationship based, in equal parts, off of love and inexperience. Even if you’re a veteran mom, each child you have will bring new ideas and new challenges. I am always pleasantly surprised by the incredible things I get to learn along the way.
Ok, maybe “pleasantly surprised” is not true in every new learning experience…but let’s move forward.
I took Coco to her first ballet. If you don’t have kids, you’ll go, “Ok, big whoop. Ballet? What’s the big deal?”
If you have kids, you’ll go, “So, how did she respond? Did she GET it? Was it incredible? Did you get kicked out?”
So here’s the setup: I am in a women’s Bible study with a girl who just happens to be a ballerina for the Los Angeles Ballet Company. Yah. No big deal. Being the absolute sweetheart that she is, my friend gifts me two free tickets to see her perform in Sleeping Beauty.
Oh, and? My friend plays Aurora. A freaking Aurora.
Imagine, if you will, my excitement over taking my six-year-old daughter to see my friend play such an iconic role. I played it up. I didn’t have to, but I did.
For an entire week, Coco would ask for my phone and stalk Aurora’s Instagram account. She was completely enchanted by the pictures of dance rehearsals, costumes, and the occasional video.
So on Saturday night, Coco and I got all gussied up for the grand event. Overall, we had a fabulous Mommy-Daughter date and made some great memories.
However, I learned a few things from that evening and I want to share them with you. I saw lots of other moms with young daughters there, and I’m betting many of them had similar experiences.
5 Tips for taking your child to the ballet:
1.) Prepare them for the lack of dialogue.
I sort of forgot to mention to Coco that a ballet is totally different than a musical or play. After the first ten minutes she was all, “Wait, why is no one talking?”
Whoops. So yah, let them know before hand that its all about the music and dancing.
2.) Read the story in advance.
Whether you’re taking your child to see the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, or Swan Lake, research the story before you go to see the ballet. Ballet is an incredible art form that tells a story–this is something you can emphasize to your child before taking them.
3.) Encourage them to focus on one dancer.
It’s mesmerizing and almost overwhelming to see twenty-plus dancers gracing the stage. While I could sit and absorb what was going on, I think it was difficult for Coco to focus. So what I did was ask her, “Who is your favorite dancer on the stage right now?” (Answer: the pink one.) Then I would encourage her to follow that dancer with her eyes.
4.) Expect to leave early.
While I wanted to stay for all three acts, Coco only made it through one and a half. It was a long performance for a six year-old, especially considering it overlapped bedtime!
5.) Debrief the story again.
It was fun to ask Coco about the scenes she witnessed and find out how she made sense of the story. While my daughter has little interest in being a ballerina, she did find the dancing and music beautiful. I want to encourage in her a love for the arts and especially a love for stories.
I haven’t purchased these yet, but I think these books would be a really fun way to follow up our experience!