“George Balanchine's The Nutcracker” at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Credit: Angela Sterling
It’s easy to imagine a little girl’s delight at the chance to see real live ballerinas dancing in a ballet. But little boys are just as likely to leap through the lobby during intermission as little girls are to twirl. Classical ballet is a fairy tale told with bodies instead of words — and with an immediate, visceral appeal. Not every kid will love watching ballet, but gender is not what separates the bored from the balletomane.
Kids and families of all types are the reason Pacifc Northwest Ballet offers its Story Ballet ticket package, the perfect orientation to ballet for youngsters. The Story Ballet package is a ticket subscription to four classical story ballets that will particularly appeal to kids. If your kid enjoys ballet, or if you want to introduce your crew to dance — a little at a time — committing to these four ballets over the course of the coming season is a great way to tiptoe into the enchanting world of ballet.
"The Nutcracker" is a traditional first ballet for good reason. With elaborate party and battle scenes, exquisite costumes, giant mice, a growing Christmas tree and a boat that sails across the stage, it's enthralling to kids and feels much shorter than it is. And if PNB's set designs look familiar, it’s because they were developed by Ian Falconer of Olivia the pig fame. PNB's “The Nutcracker” is on stage Nov. 29–Dec. 28, 2019.
PNB's “Cinderella” is a classic fairy tale told in classical ballet style with music by Prokofiev and choreography by PNB’s own former director, Kent Stowell. It’s not quite the Disney "Cinderella" your kids know, but it is equally beautiful, sweet and fanciful — and there is a real chariot in the show. “Cinderella” is on stage Jan. 31–Feb. 9, 2020.
3. “Beauty & the Beast”
Hewing close to the Disney story line, PNB's “Beauty & the Beast” is the premiere of a special matinee series just for kids. The ballet features an onstage narrator and runs only one hour. Like "The Nutcracker," it features lots of students from the ballet school. “Beauty & the Beast” is on stage March 15–22, 2020.
Less familiar to kids is the story of Giselle, but it will give them the Wilis (vengeful ghosts of maidens who died after being betrayed by their lovers) — literally! Once considered a tragic love story based on Russian folklore, modern audiences don’t have to stretch for a feminist message. When Giselle dies of a broken heart, the Wilis bring her back to punish her betraying boyfriend. Alas, kind-hearted Giselle saves him, but only after some ethereal balletic haunting teaches him a lesson. “Giselle” is on stage April 10–19, 2020.
Story Ballet ticket package
The four-ballet package starts at $108 per person, but seats are available at every price point. The savings vary, but on average, the package is about 20 percent cheaper than buying single tickets to each of the ballets. The Story Ballet package also comes with subscriber benefits:
- Free ticket exchanges if you can’t make your selected performance date
- Discounts at neighborhood restaurants
- A discount of 20 percent off additional tickets for both Story Time ballets and other PNB shows