When my daughter was 5, right before she started formal dance classes, I took her to see the Pennsylvania Ballet perform The Nutcracker. As I ordered tickets, I could feel myself getting excited, I LOVED the ballet and couldn’t wait to share the live experience with my daughter. Oh, we had watched countless episodes of Angelina Ballerina, and done the twirls and plies at home, but now we were going to see the real live experts! As the days got closer to the show, I started to get nervous, “she’s only 5″ I told myself, she probably won’t be able to sit still through this show. ‘What if we are not in good seats”? “Ugh, I’ll be devastated if I have to take her out early”!
When that curtain lifted, she was totally mesmerized. I distinctly remember her moving to the edge of her seat so that she could better see when Clara wakes up to see the Christmas tree growing before her very eyes. I remember the awe in her face as the Mouse King gets hit in the head by the heroine Clara’s slipper! When Clara arrives at the Land of the Sweets and sees the Hot Coco dancers, my little girl clapped and clapped and clapped! Afterwards, as we waited to get Clara’s autograph, I remember her telling me that she “wanted to see this again”. I was so proud.
The next year, I decided to go ahead and subscribe to the PA Ballet. It was a luxury that I couldn’t really afford but the return on investment from just that one show the year prior was worth it. Our first show in the series was La fille mal gardée. While the premise of the ballet totally escaped her 6 year old brain, the awe in her face was still there. By the time we got to her second viewing of The Nutcracker, she had announced to anyone who would listen that she wanted to dance with the PA Ballet.
Thanks for letting me walk down memory lane, but there is a point to my rambling. You see kids need to be exposed to the Arts. It’s important for them to use their visual senses to see/hear/feel the beauty that is music, that is dance, that is acting. Not just what they see on television, but the medium of live performance. The interaction with other live bodies who are watching together,and breathing the performance on the stage.
I’m going to reiterate that it can be pricey. But the ROI is so worth it. We went on to do free performances in parks and schools; Broadway matinees;The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Shows; traveling Broadway shows in our city. and even the SYTYCD live performance shows. I saw it as an opportunity to learn outside of the traditional classroom,to see the potential of dance. She was at this point, totally entrenched in formal dance classes, but I needed her to see it’s potential outside of those dance studio walls.
Invest in live productions, it’s an investment in your child’s education. It opens up a whole new world of appreciation, and it’s a class all in itself. Watching professional dancers get those steps just right gives your child the incentive to go back and nail it in the classroom.
It’s worth it.