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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS is 3, and we're considering taking him to see The Nutcracker this year. It's been several years since I've seen it, though, and I'm trying to remember how scary the whole Mouse King part is -- can anyone who has seen it more recently make a recommendation about whether to take a 3yo to see this?
 

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I took my 5 year old and 3 year old last year. The Mouse King scene varies in intensity depending on the interpretation of the ballet. I've seen the Nutcracker several times and it varied from purely traditional dancing to more theatrical and comical interpretations. It's hard to say.<br><br>
I will say that the middle act was boring for both my kids. We saw a condensed version for the schools and homeschool kids, as well. The First Act was exciting. It's the Christmas scene and some of Clara's dream. The Last Act had the international dances, I think. The middle act was lots of beautiful ballet in the snowy setting, but it wasn't very exciting to my kids. We took my niece once when she was about 3 and that middle act had the same effect on her. I love the theatre, and the middle act honestly puts me to sleep.<br><br>
But the First Act and 3rd Act went over very well. I think my 3 year old was more taken with it than my 5 year old. It depends on the kid. My youngest son is very into music and dancing, whereas my oldest could care less. I plan on taking them again this year but I had to promise my oldest that I'd bring coloring books for him when it gets kind of dull.<br><br>
HTH!
 

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I took my older dd for the first time when she was three and she adored it (my younger dd started going at two, but she wanted to do whatever her sister did). It was a ballet school performance, so it was not intense or scary. I highly reccomend a candy cane or something to get through the snow sequences, though.<br><br>
Another thing that I find really helps is to talk through the story in advance. We do this with every show I take them to and it helps a lot with scary bits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies so far! I'm glad to see that others have taken their very young children to see it with positive results (and I'm glad to have a heads-up about the boring middle act!). DS is hugely into music and dancing, so I think he'll really like watching people (especially kids) dance on stage.<br><br>
He's able to sit for a rather long time if he's into something, but I'll bring an activity just in case he gets bored. Also, the production we're attending is small and the tickets are quite inexpensive, so if he's really not having a good time I won't mind just leaving. Anyway, thanks for the feedback! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I know you've already decided to take your ds but I just wanted to add that my dd saw it when she was 3 for the first time and has wanted to see it every year since. She fell in love with it when she was 3.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LeftField</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9832180"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I will say that the middle act was boring for both my kids. We saw a condensed version for the schools and homeschool kids, as well. The First Act was exciting. It's the Christmas scene and some of Clara's dream. The Last Act had the international dances, I think. The middle act was lots of beautiful ballet in the snowy setting, but it wasn't very exciting to my kids. We took my niece once when she was about 3 and that middle act had the same effect on her. I love the theatre, and the middle act honestly puts me to sleep.</div>
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That is just what I was going to say! My DD was in The Nutcracker a few years ago (a student production) and while I could appreciate the middle part as a mother by thinking about how hard all the kids had worked and how nice they looked, it is definitely not as exciting as the party scene or the international dances. My then 4 yo got pretty restless during that part!<br><br>
I agree with the Mouse King, it depends on the show. The student show my DD was in actually had a mouse queen (not many boys in the company) and she just had on a tutu and mouse ears. They did "fire" a cannon and there was some sword fighting that was mainly leaping around, nothing scary. My DD was a mouse so I have to say that the mice were *very* entertaining! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I would try to take him to a matinee because there will probably be mostly families with young children and if you have to get up, stand in the aisles, etc. it won't be a big deal because others will be doing it too.
 

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I took my DD when she was 2 1/2, because she was (and is) *crazy* about music & dancing. She was ter-ri-fied of the Nutcracker character - I had to carry her out in screaming hysterics. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Once he was offstage, I brought her back in, and she loved the dancing. Ever since, she's still terrified of grownups in masks - Ronald McDonald, Chuck E. Cheese, you name it.<br><br>
So I doubt we'll be returning to the Nutcracker for a while. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> But that's totally my kid - any reaction she has is 1000%.
 

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My daughters are 3 and 5, and my husband is taking them on a date to see The Nutcracker next week. They are SO excited about it! Just as a personality thing, they're both good with listening quietly during performances -- we've taken them to see full-length ballets/operas/plays and they've been spellbound. We have three-year-old playmates who definitely can't handle sitting still for that long (which is totally normal), and would get antsy in that kind of setting.<br><br>
As for the scariness factor, sitting pretty far back helps with that a lot, as does reading the story together beforehand so they know what's coming. For your son, I might recommend borrowing a copy of the ballet on DVD from your library and watching it together as a family one evening, to see how he does with the Mouse King scene. I'm quite anti-violence and sheltering about scary/overwhelming stuff like that (there's no way we would take them to a movie, for example) but we've found that scene in the ballet to be pretty tame and stylized. The toy soldiers do use swords, if that's a hot button for you. My 3yo wasn't bothered at all by that (or by the witch-into-the-oven bit of Hansel and Gretel), but then again, she prefers to BE the Mouse King when they play together! (And Caraboss, and Odile, and the Queen of the Night... she loves any role where she gets to play the tiny tyrant to her older sister's princesses. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> )<br><br>
Anyway, I think Nutcracker is a GREAT choice for a first ballet performance to bring your children to. You know that you'll be surrounded by lots of other kids, so if it turns out that focusing on a performance isn't for him yet, at least you'll be in good company. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> And if he does well with it, it opens the doors to SO many other opportunities for fine arts appreciation and special outings together!
 

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Definitely rent a DVD of it before you go. In fact, I'd suggest renting more than one version at different times before you go to the actual ballet. I find that if a child is familiar with something like the idea of what a ballet is and knows the story because they've seen it a few times, then they often stay more interested. Plus watching more than one version helps them not be upset if it's not just like the one they saw!
 

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My 8yo DD has been going since she was 3 (first a student production, but this will be her 4th year of a big pro one). This year she and DS (5) are in a student production and it's so much fun to see it from this side!
 

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I just took my 3 and 5 year old boys.<br>
They were better behaved and quieter than 80% of the adults..<br>
I did a lot of prep work though..shh ballet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br>
for the little one I also got a box for the family so they could stretch a bit
 

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I agree that it totally depends upon the interpretation. Last year, we went to a high school production and they had sets and props and amazing cosutmes and it was exciting and a little scary for the kids - not too bad but enough that they were enthralled and clutching on to me at the same time.<br><br>
We went this year and it was boring. It was just the ballet - no backgrounds/sets, no fancy costumes etc... they almost fell asleep.
 

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Did you go? How did your littles like the show?<br><br>
We took our 6 y/o and 4 y/o this year and they really enjoyed themselves. Of course I did a lot of prep work. Telling them what was going to happen, the canon, swords, Land of Snow, the Ginger Children, Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier - "dancing" the parts and humming the music.<br><br>
I think if they went in not knowing what to expect they would not have responded so well.<br><br>
eta: we saw the ballet
 

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We took ours last year at 2.5 and she LOVED it. This year we took her again at 3.5. She sat quietly and attentively both times, HOWEVER I think it greatly depends on gyou and gyour child. Unfortunately we sat next to a child and her mother this year who should not have been there. They were very loud the whole time. I would wait until gyou're sure gyour child is up to it.<br><br>
Where we've seen it the mouse scene isn't too bad. This year they brought out a giant mousetrap. They seem to be constantly changing that ballet. It's never the same.<br><br><br>
_______________________________________<br><br>
Me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hola.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hola">: DH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> Erin 3½ <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/reading.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="reading"> Sara 11 mos. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/femalesling.GIF" style="border:0px solid;" title="Femalesling">:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>tsume</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10066940"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Did you go? How did your littles like the show?</div>
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Yes, we went, and DS really enjoyed it! I was surprised at how long it was -- about 2.5 hours including the intermission. For some reason I always thought of that as a short ballet, but maybe that's because I was so absorbed in it when I was little. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Anyway, DS sat quietly and watched almost the whole thing -- he fell asleep about 10 minutes before the end, and when I turned around to look at the rest of the audience, I saw a sea of sleeping kids -- it was pretty cute. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We'll definitely make a tradition out of it!
 

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We went on Sunday. My 4.5 yo DS was the one I was worried about since he is rather squirrelly. But he did great and really enjoyed it. I was glad we went.
 

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I am very into ballet, so I ended up taking my youngest dd for the first time when she was 1.5, she did fine. We have gone every year except this year. Last year my then 8y.o. was a soldier. I think I started taking ds around 3, it is one of the few ballets that I can get him to go to with me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My kids went to see it when they were 9 and 6 - but my DD used to watch the video (w/Macauley Culkin & Darci Kistler) every single day, when she was about 3 years old. She adored it.
 
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