Sarah's daughter in the auditorium  with her Sleeping Beauty programme and bear.
Sarah's daughter in the auditorium with her Sleeping Beauty programme and bear.
Anna Cirano Cerdá as Princess Aurora and Jan Ŝpunda as Prince Désiré 
©Photography by ASH
Anna Cirano Cerdá as Princess Aurora and Jan Ŝpunda as Prince Désiré ©Photography by ASH
Alexander Hallas as Carabosse 
©Photography by ASH
Alexander Hallas as Carabosse ©Photography by ASH

My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

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This is the third time Kids in Museums’ Facebook manager, Sarah Yeneralski, and her daughter have seen a My First Ballet production. In previous years they have enjoyed Cinderella and Swan Lake so they were excited to see that this year My First Ballet was Sleeping Beauty.

My First Ballet is a joint venture between English National Ballet and English National Ballet School and features second year students performing works produced by English National Ballet. My First Ballet is a shortened version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet with the addition of a narrator to explain what is happening as the ballet progresses.

The production is aimed at introducing families to ballet and so the atmosphere is more relaxed than formal. Although, looking at the audience during the performance, I saw many faces enchanted by the story rather than fidgeting and talking.

The story itself is a much-loved one which most people are familiar with. The Princess Aurora is put under a spell of death by the wicked fairy Carabosse and pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. The Lilac Fairy changes the spell so that Aurora sleeps for one hundred years until she is awakened by a kiss from Prince Désiré . The story unfolds beautifully and the dancers’ skill and grace captured our imagination from the start to the finish.

I was amazed that these dancers were students, especially during the solo performances which were amazing. Sophie loved the pointe work and liked to show me during the interval how she could also dance on her toes! We really enjoyed the addition of other fairy-tale characters in the second act. The introduction of these well-loved characters really helped Sophie to identify with that part of the ballet and she said afterwards that this was her favourite part.

My First Ballet really works hard to make the experience accessible to all families. The programme contains the story in symbols by Widget and the website has downloadable resources including Going to the Theatre flashcards which can help to make the meaning clearer and easier to understand for families of children with learning difficulties or disabilities.

We thoroughly enjoyed My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty. It is such a wonderful way to introduce families to ballet, classical music and the theatre experience. I am always open to any opportunity that takes me to the ballet and to be able to experience this delightful production with my little girl was a perfect Easter treat for me indeed.

My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty is showing at various venues across England until 10 July. Ticket prices vary depending on the venue. For more information and to book: http://www.ballet.org.uk/whats-on/myfirstballet-sleepingbeauty/  Find out about Sarah and her family’s last trip to My First Ballet here: https://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/?p=10917

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