Viewing The Nutcracker as performed by your local ballet company or troupe is a holiday tradition for many families. But what if you have a younger child at home who has not yet been to their first viewing? How do you know when the time is right to take your child to this cherished holiday experience? Here are some considerations to keep in mind and what you might want to say to your child before you take them to the show.
Can Your Child Stay Quiet for an Extended Amount of Time?
Most people understand that there will be children at a holiday show like The Nutcracker, and they'll know that children can sometimes talk when they shouldn't. But you should be confident that your children are capable of being quiet for most of the length of the show. As there is no dialogue in The Nutcracker, any voice that is heard in the audience is going to cut through the music like a knife. Explain the performance to your child and make sure they know to keep quiet until the intermission or end of the show.
Consider the Matinee
Another consideration of whether or not your kid is ready to see a show like The Nutcracker is the time of day you will be taking them. Younger kids, in particular, might not be able to make it through a 7 p.m. performance. They'll be too tired and might even fall asleep in the dark theater by the end of the show. Of course, the other option they'll have is to become agitated and start making too much noise because getting tired makes them cranky.
You can get around this by seeking out a production that offers an afternoon matinee. Your child will likely still have enough energy to stay focused on the show and make it all the way through, hopefully without too many disruptions.
Explain a Bit of the Story in Advance
Because this is a ballet with no dialogue, it might be a new kind of experience for your child. They could easily get confused if they notice 10 minutes in that no one is actually talking. You can get around this by explaining a bit of the story so that they understand what is happening. Younger children might not realize that the second half of the show is one large dream sequence unless you explain this to them.
Contact a local ballet company like Long Beach Ballet for more information.