This past weekend Hubs and I took the girls to see the Nutcracker, and oh what an experience it was! My girls have seen a local production before, but I was still a little nervous that the full-length ballet might be too much for them. So I took some time to prepare them before, and that little bit of prep helped a million times over. I’ll get to my tips in a minute – but first, here are my top five reasons you really need to see this year’s Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet:
Why do you need to see Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker?
5. You have to see the costumes for yourself. 182 costumes appear on stage in a single performance, over 2,000 yards of net and tulle were used for the costumes, and over 200,000 jewels were used in the costumes. That’s a whole lot of bling, and yes, it’s gorgeous. Plus, who can forget the amazing dancing bear? He’s a joy to watch.
4. The scenery is unmatched. The party scene, the snow scene, the Nutcracker Prince’s kingdom … it’s all gorgeous. When the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier makes the Christmas tree grow, it grows to over four stories tall. It magically envelops the stage and is simply unbelievable.
3. The skill of the company dancers is breathtaking. The dancers at the Boston Ballet are some of the best in the world. Literally. My favorite part of the ballet has always been the snow scene, and the Snow Queen and the Snowflakes were breathtaking. I know the soloists are the stars of the show – and they were all incredible – but the Snowflakes were my favorite. Seeing them all dance in perfect unison during that long sequence was just amazing.
Crowd favorites of the day were the bear and the doll in the party scene, and the mice in the battle scene in the first act, and the Arabian dancers and the three male Russian dancers in the second act. Seriously, everyone was absolutely spectacular – technically and artistically.
2. Watching your kids take it all in is magical. I watched my kindergartener’s face much of the time, and she was enthralled. She clapped along with the dancing bear, stared open-mouthed at the enormous tree, oohed and ahhhed over the Snowflakes, and giggled at Mother Ginger. She LOVED it all. My third-grader also adored it, and left determined to dance in a Nutcracker production in the next few years. Both my girls are dancers, but your kids certainly don’t have to be to love this show.
1. It’s more affordable than you may think. Tickets start at $29, a fact that surprised me. I went to a local ballet studio’s Nutcracker production a couple weeks ago, and those tickets weren’t that much less expensive! If you’re going to go, why not pay a little more for the real thing? Even the seats waaaay up top in the Boston Opera House have a great view of the whole stage – and my kids liked being up there!
Here’s a little preview of the spectacular performance that you can expect to see…
How to prepare your kids for seeing The Nutcracker
My eight-year-old had been to ballet productions before, but my kindergartener was a little confused about what we were going to see. So I prepped her so she knew what to expect. Here’s what you can do to get your kids ready:
Explain that the people on stage don’t talk. They dance, and they tell the story through the movements of their bodies and the expressions on their faces. Tell your child the dancers are pretty far away from where you are sitting, but you can see everything they are doing.
Tell them the story of the Nutcracker. My kiddo didn’t understand it completely, but she knew enough to know what was what when we were watching the show.
Get them excited about getting dressed up! Going to the theatre is a big deal and a reason to wear your best. My girls were thrilled to wear pretty party dresses!
Take them to a Boston Ballet Nutcracker story hour. Your kids can learn about the story, characters, and music of The Nutcracker during a festive and interactive story time. We went to one at the Boston Ballet’s studios right before the performance, and it was super fun for my girls. One of my fellow Boston bloggers, Casey Carey-Brown, wrote about it on her blog and you can see lots of pictures there. And here. And here. And here! (Some bloggers are giving away tickets, so check those links!) And check out the remaining story hours and see if there is one happening near you.
Prepare them to sit quietly for a while. I recommend for your first time, you go to a matinee and sit in less-expensive seats. We were surrounded by kids and no one cared if someone made a little noise. But in general, everyone was quiet, and it’s important to prep your kids for this.
Explain that The Nutcracker isn’t just for girls. The title character is a guy, after all! The party scene is for everyone, the battle scene is thrilling, and many of the male dancers in the second act are crowd favorites.
Bonus tips: Get there early, ask for booster seats, bring snacks and tiny water bottles, and be sure to use the bathroom right before the performance. There is a lot to see in the Boston Opera House, so it’s good to get there early and look around before settling in your seats. The theatre provides booster seats for little ones, if you need them. Bring your own kid-friendly snacks and water for intermission. And a potty break before the show starts is a must. Bathroom lines during intermission are very long!
We had a wonderful time at The Nutcracker, and I’m sure you will too!
Information on the Boston Ballet’s 2014 Nutcracker production
The ballet runs through December 31. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased online at www.bostonballet.org or over the phone at 617.695.6955. Show times: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 5:30pm, and all matinees are at 1:00pm.
Tickets were provided to me by the Boston Ballet, but all opinions are honest and my own. Because I am Honest Mom, after all.