When Kids in Museums Reviews Editor Sarah Yeneralski saw that ‘My First Ballet:Cinderella’ was coming to The Peacock in London during the Easter school holidays as part of their national tour, she jumped at the chance to watch the performance with her two children. However not everyone in her family was so keen.
I don’t think that going to see My First Ballet: Cinderella, in the Easter holidays, was actually my son’s idea of how he wanted to spend his evening. Whether it was the promise of ice-cream at the interval, or just the thought of wandering around London later at night, he reluctantly agreed to accompany us this time. This is the third time my daughter Sophie and I have seen a My First Ballet production. Each time we have been charmed by the magical performance given by the students of the English National Ballet School. My First Ballet is a joint venture between English National Ballet and English National Ballet School and features dancers from the second year of the school. Certainly there were future stars dancing on stage tonight. Although these were students dancing, they all exhibited the grace and strength of professional dancers.
My First Ballet aims to bring classical ballet to a younger audience and the performance is designed to be accessible for all. The performance itself is shorted than a traditional ballet at only one hour and thirty minutes including one important interval to fill up on ice-cream. The other difference is the inclusion of a narrator who helps to explain the story as it unfolds. I know that my daughter Sophie especially likes this feature as she found it difficult to follow a previous ballet we had seen without the narrator. I also liked the feature in the programme of The Story in Symbols by Widget which aims to make ballet more accessible to children with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Of course the story of Cinderella is a well-known and much loved tale which really needs little explanation. We especially liked the dancers who played the roles of the different seasons and gave Cinderella different items to wear to the ball. The step sisters too were a highlight with their comic attempts to woo the price.
I could see that as the ballet unfolded, my somewhat reluctant son was being drawn in the magic of the story. When the clock stuck midnight and Cinderella was transformed back to her rags before our very eyes, James exclaimed, “How did they do that?” I could see Sophie was dancing along to the music all the way through the performance and thoroughly enjoying herself.
I would thoroughly recommend ‘My First Ballet’ to families wanting to introduce the wonder of dance and the magic of the theatre to their children without the pressure of a formal performance. It seems that there is even something to appeal to the most reluctant ballet fans amongst us. Whether James will join us again for the next ballet remains to be seen, but even he had to admit that ‘My First Ballet: Cinderella’ was, “Quite good”. Strong praise indeed from this ten year-old!
‘My First Ballet: Cinderella’ is appearing at various venues in England during 2017.
Ticket prices and times vary.