6 Tips for Taking Kids to The Nutcracker Ballet

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Phoenix Ballet hosted my family for the purpose of a review. Our opinions and love for The Nutcracker are 100% ours!

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We had the privilege of previewing Phoenix Ballet’s The Nutracker performance before it hits the big stage. The show will run December 15th – 24th at the enchanting Orpheum Theatre. The dancers were not only talented, but also so kind to humor my tiny 4 year old ballerina. They twirled with her and answered all her million questions about being a ballerina. She declared it the “best day ever” and I would have to agree! I can’t wait to experience the full show at the Orpheum! 

Growing up, it was a family tradition to attend The Nutcracker during the holidays. Life has come full circle as I get to enjoy this same tradition with my own children. The Nutcracker is such a great introduction for children into theater and classical music. The story and music are very kid-friendly. I took my daughter to her first ballet when she was 3 years old and she made it through the entire show without issue. Here are a few tips for taking children to The Nutcracker ballet. 

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1. LISTEN TO THE SOUNDTRACK. Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy is synonymous with the holidays. It’s played in stores and featured in commercials. Kids will instantly recognize the popular tune. The rest of the songs might not be so familiar. Keep the soundtrack in the car and kids will love hearing their favorite songs during the performance. Make sure to prepare kid for the lack of dialogue during the show. 

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2. READ THE NUTCRACKER STORY. There’s so much going on in The Nutcracker and kids will be much more engaged in the ballet if they understand the background story. Pick up a kid-friendly version of The Nutcracker story at your local book store and read the book together before attending the ballet. My daughter took the book with her to the ballet and enjoyed matching the pages to the scene. 

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3. BRIBE WITH INTERMISSION TREATS. Kids will be that much more well behaved during the show if they know they’ll receive a special treat at intermission. Plus, that’s what intermission is for (aside from changing the set and giving the dancers a break)! Whatever works right?

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4. DRESS FOR SUCCESS. Whether that means skipping the tights or forgoing the tie, just do what works for your kids. Having your child pick out their own fancy outfit might also work for you. Strangely, my kids don’t mind dressing up for special occasions and breaking out our Christmas outfits just adds to the magic of the night. I always bring our pajamas with us in the car to change into because they will typically fall asleep on the ride home.

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5. EAT BEFORE THE SHOW. The show is around 2 hours long with a 20 minute intermission in between. While there will typically be snacks and treats offered at intermission, I recommend eating a good meal before showtime. 

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6. PRACTICE BALLET ETIQUETTE. Leading up to the performance date, have several chats about what is expected inside of the theater. This typically includes whispering/being quiet, sitting in your seat during the performance and clapping at the right times (when others clap). You might also want to practice how to clap with your child. 

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Visit Phoenix Ballet to purchase The Nutcracker tickets. Use promo code SUGARPLUM for 50% off adult tickets (excludes level 4). 

You might also like our DIY Nutcracker family costume!Nutcracker Halloween Family Costume Idea



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Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Welcome to See Vanessa Craft! I’m Vanessa, an MSSW and mom of two in Arizona, and I’m happy you’re here to get inspired with me. It’s my mission in life to spread creativity through crafts, recipes, travel and more in order to live a life well lived.