Living in the Pacific Northwest when I think of the Holiday Season and all the traditional events I’m always reminded of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker. While I haven’t had the opportunity to attend every year I do remember my mom taking my sisters and I to ballet as a children. Getting new Holiday dresses and dressing up, it was a big special event that I enjoyed. My husband and I had the opportunity to attend the Nutcracker Ballet last year so we were excited to get to take my six and seven year old daughters this year.
Taking children to the ballet is a completely different experience then enjoying a date night out with your spouse or significant other. I knew that my three year old daughter wouldn’t be able to sit still for long enough to really enjoy the performance but have recently taken my six and seven year old daughters to plays that they were able to enjoy. We decided to make this a surprise for them. Both of them have been practicing the Nutcracker music in their before school choir group and are getting ready for a Nutcracker performance night next week so they knew the story and I knew they’d be excited about getting to have this experience.
When we arrived they were enthralled by all the sights and sounds of McCaw Hall which had been beautifully decorated to represent scenes and characters from the Nutcracker ballet. They insisted upon having their pictures taken with the Nutcracker statue and a few different things around the hall. McCaw Hall offers cushions for children to boost them up a little bit in their seats for easier viewing but the kids were just tall enough and the seats we had in the Dress Circle section provided a great view for us all! We were let into the hall about 30 minutes prior to the show starting and had the opportunity to read through the program, check out the profiles of the dancers who’d be performing that night in different character roles and reviewing the story. My girls were both excited and a bit antsy for things to begin. They had constant questions about the hall, the scene on the stage and the orchestra pit, which at intermission we took them down to get a closer view of.
Of all the ballet’s that the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs I would suggest the Nutcracker to take your children too because it’s a story that my kids recognized and were able to enjoy. When asked what they enjoyed the most they responded with the beautiful dancers, costumes, music, when it was snowing on stage and the brownies at intermission. They were also very interested in the fact that there where children dancing in the performance. I will admit that they were much more interested in the first half of the performance because they were able to follow the storyline, the second half my six year old daughter kept asking me what was going on and why they were “just dancing” now. I found this pretty funny because my favorite part is the second half of the performance after intermission. They did however REALL enjoy the dance of the Chinese Tiger and my seven year old recognized the music for the Waltz of the Flowers. My kids were excited to return home with a small Nutcracker figurine that is now adorning the top of our Christmas tree.
If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet I would definitely suggest doing it today so they don’t sell out! The Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker is something you’ll want to add to your list of holiday activities.
TIPS FOR TAKING KIDS TO THE BALLET: The Pacific Northwest Ballet offers some great tips on taking kids to the ballet that I would suggest reading HERE.
PURCHASE TICKETS: For more information and to purchase tickets be sure to visit Pacific Northwest Ballet HERE. (Tickets can be purchased for as little as $28 each- child price $26.)
Be sure to check out the Nutcracker Events for a list of choirs that will be performing before each performance, specials on Nutcracker Suites at McCaw Hall and especially their Family Matinee Nutcracker Suite if you’ll be taking the kids, or the Nutty Nutcracker performance on December 24th at 4:00pm where I’ve heard there will be quite a few fun little surprises.