Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The ballet - A joy for ALL to behold

MY first ballet happened to be the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. I took Esme Grace - my delighted 7YO - with me. Rather wonderfully, both of us were totally unaware of the magic we were letting ourselves in for.



I’m not sure why I’d never been to the ballet before, but I do know why Esme hadn't…

Years earlier, when she was just three years old, we were at a performance show for the little weekly ballet class she attended. Somewhat harassed, I found myself breastfeeding her screaming newborn baby sister in the midst of it all, which clearly Esme didn’t like. She reacted by crashing into a devoted Granddad who had been watching his three-year-old twirling pink granddaughter adoringly. Imagine that… suddenly my tiny daughter gives him such a shove he falls over. It wasn’t pretty.

I apologised profusely to the bewildered granddad, and helped him up before rapidly marching my three-year-old out of the village hall. (I did put my boob away first).

Several years later at the London Coliseum, an exquisite setting in the heart of Theatreland and home to the English National Ballet, it was Esme's turn to be bowled over. And mine for that matter.


I had always understood The Nutcracker to be a brilliant first ballet as the story was fairly simple and easy to follow, but Esme and I were utterly mesmerised. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me, to sit there with my daughter, wrapped in the wonder of the ballet. This time, we left together thoroughly inspired.

Of course, her younger sister Sofia Faith, (now 4) felt left out… but she was simply too young to be able to enjoy it. That is she was. For now, there is a ballet aimed at her age group - an even better first ballet for young children to see. 

Together The English National Ballet and the English National Ballet School, produce a My First Ballet series – aimed at children 3+, where basically famous ballets are shortened to an hour and a narrator helps the audience understand the plot. How fantastic is that? We hope to give it the thumbs up later on LIFE AS IT IS.

The fairytale Sleeping Beauty, begins its national tour this week, running from the 24 March – 29 May 2016, and is the perfect way to introduce young children to the enchantment of ballet.

©Mark Ruffle
Performance times and tickets vary – you can find more info at www.ballet.org.uk but here is a quick look at the listings information:

Peacock Theatre, London
24 March – 2 April 2016

Box Office: 020 7863 8222

Tickets: £10 - £25 
Norwich Theatre Royal
8 – 9 April 2016

Box Office: 01603 630000

Tickets: £7 - £23
The Orchard Theatre, Dartford
16 – 17 April 2016

Box Office: 01322 220000

Tickets: £10 - £20 
Palace Theatre, Manchester
23 – 24 April 2016

Box Office: 0844 871 3019

Tickets: £11 - £26 
New Theatre, Oxford
30 April – 1 May 2016

Box Office: 0844 871 3020

Tickets: £11 - £26 
White Rock Theatre, Hastings
7 – 8 May 2016

Box Office: 01424 462288

Tickets: £10 - £20 
Bristol Hippodrome
21 – 22 May 2016

Box Office: 0844 871 3012

Tickets: £11 - £26 
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
28 – 29 May 2016

Box Office: 0844 871 7645

Tickets: £11 - £26 

Booking fees may apply.