5 Tips for Taking Your Son to the Ballet

I've always wanted to attend a performance by the NYC Ballet. I've walked past the theatre in Lincoln Center numerous times and daydreamed about one day seeing it for myself. It was a splurge I kept putting off. But then I got an idea. What if I pitched the idea to Elizabeth Street as a story? Perhaps writing about my experience of taking Oscar to the ballet? They loved when I wrote about the time I took Ella to the opera, maybe they would give me another opportunity? I was stoked when they said yes! Here's me and Oscar minutes before we left for one of NYC Ballet's final performances of Sleeping Beauty. It was a date we will never forget, not a perfect date (I have one major regret), but a memorable one! Read my 5 tips to taking boys to the ballet here. 
After the performance. Such a jaded NYorker already. 


  1. Wow you are daring! I remember my mom tried taking us to the ballet once and we fell asleep lol granted it was 4 kids (though my older siblings were in their early teens) but I'm pretty sure we ended up snoring lol

  2. oh would love to see oscar's drawings! p.s. great idea to kid swap at intermission:)

  3. it's so shocking that he already absorbed the "girls only" stereotype! but then again I have no idea how we get them into our heads. I'm so glad he liked it though! I think kids have easier times at musicals just because they understand a little more because of the direct dialogue but I think it's great he got to experience that. Idk how well it'd go over for kids, but you should check out the movie First Position, it's on netflix, it follows dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix and two of the main contestants it focuses on are boys, one pretty dang young lol and one teenager. I think it'd help to see how hard ballet is and that it is a sport, and not just for girls.

  4. I really like your ideas you come up your job Sharon. I hope your boss appreciates them as much :)
    I already left a comment at E.S. but I'm gonna tell you again that I especially loved the 5th tip. I'd never think of that :)

  5. how about Owen?

  6. Anonymous, That was my thought to, why not swap with Owen? Is sitting still not his thing? (My son can sit for about 8 minutes tops and then he's a wild maniac)

    1. ha. Yeah, that was a totally mistake on my part. I could have swapped out Owen. I need to change that. I think the reason I didn't think of Owen was because I already promised him to be my date to see Cinderella on Broadway later that week. AND OWEN lasted the whole show!!!

  7. I love this blog post so much! As a former child dancer, I know NYCB, and this ballet in particular, well (I was one of those little girls in the Garland Waltz that you saw in Sleeping Beauty - and if you'd made it through the second act you'd have also seen Little Red Riding Hood, another of my roles!) and now that I am in a stepmom role to two boys I really try to find ways to incorporate the cultural depth of my youth into their lives without getting pushy. They are only 3 and 6 and to my surprise, they mostly get mesmerized by ballet just like they do with Yo Gabba Gabba (which makes sense, I guess, since it's all just people moving to music in the end). I started off easy, with The Nutcracker, and with very short Youtube clips. Then we graduated to the full NYCB Nutcracker movie on DVD. They are obsessed with the mouse king. The 6-year old surprised me by listing the Snow Scene (all adults, no plot advancement, just a beautiful corps de ballet piece) as his favorite and I burst with pride because it's totally my favorite too. After they were a bit familiar with the visuals of what ballet is, I started showing them Youtube clips from other ballets - Giselle, etc.

    We haven't gone to see a ballet in person yet because we just never seem to find the time - it's tough in a shared-custody situation; there is just never enough time. I am waiting until they are both old enough to get something out of it, so that it becomes a group outing rather than a broken-up outing. But one thing you might like to consider if you do it again, is that NYCB does children's workshops before some Saturday matinee performances, for certain kid-friendly shows (story ballets, etc). I think the workshops are about 40 minutes long, and there is story exposition, and they get a little prop, and they learn a step from the ballet and get to jump around and do it. Then you trek across the plaza to the theater and watch the ballet. I haven't tried that yet but I'm keeping it in mind for the future.

    Another really great resource for "dance is for men too" lessons is Alvin Ailey's Revelations. It's not classical ballet but it is, IMO, one of the most kid-accessible works out there, and the male choreography in it is both beautiful and impressively strong. The good news is that the Ailey company closes out nearly every performance they do with Revelations, so it's easy to find live if you want to do that down the road. Every time I go, I see lots of parents entering with their kids for the third act only. It's also choreographed to old spiritual songs. I know you guys did some Black History Month crafts earlier and this is another good tie-in to that kind of stuff.

    Not sure if I can share links on your blog but here is a really great pas de deux between a man and a woman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CXk1mQVCgI
    And here is an older recording that is just a trio of guys, no women at all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-OuqB1pgys

  8. I love that you took your little guy to the ballet! I grew up dancing and LOVE going every month or so to see a production. I talked about seeing Cinderella over at my blog, www.Twentysomethingbows.blogspot.com. :)

  9. gorgeous photos of you two -what a great wee date!

  10. I cannot wait to do the same with my 3 year old boy, but he prefers football!

    Pics are great!

  11. I love that experience, it's great to share culture and beauty with our little ones!
    I have tickets to a dance show which is a mix between hip hop and boxing, both the kids and I are intrigued! Then there's a poetic show with horses and then a classic 2-hour play (Cyranno de Bergerac) that I'm taking my 11-year old son to, I can't wait! Ballet is next on my list!

  12. are you ok? haven't heard anything since the one moment please post. Hope you're doing well.

  13. I enjoyed your blog. It's nice to know that even if he thinks it's only for girls, he enjoyed it. Good for him and you!

    - CreationStationDance.com


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