Thursday, 29 December 2011

Scottish Ballet's Sleeping Beauty (for kids!)

I'm not a dancer.  I don't have the build, or the grace, or the rhythmic ability.  Nor can I, as we are constantly exhorted to, dance like nobody's watching.  Because they always are aren't they?  And while I'd love to move like liquid, losing all my sense of self in the power of the music (and don't phrases like that make you want to kick someone, probably quite hard?), I just don't.  Can't.  Won't.

My children, on the other hand, love dancing.  Dancing is where it's at.  Whether it's a Spoonful of Sugar  or the Firebird.  They also have two classical music loving parents, so they're pretty well up on their Tchaikovsky and Prokoviev. (It was with equal parts pride and horror (poncy parent alert) that I heard L, aged just four, inform someone in a shop that her favourite song was "Stravinsky".)

So I was totally delighted when Scottish Ballet got in touch and asked if we wanted to take part in their Forty Winks Workshop which is running in Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The girls, obviously were so far beyond delighted there weren't words.

Having done our homework (downloadable sheets of colouring and questions about ballet and the story of the Sleeping Beauty, which will come in very handy for some while to come - we've got eight children in the house at the moment and have spent a very happy morning colouring in enchanted forests and drawing mutants (yes, they do feature in Sleeping Beauty, who knew?)), we bundled into the car yesterday morning for a trip to Edinburgh.

The workshops are taking place in the National Museum of Scotland which has just reopened and is amazingly brilliant, even without Sleeping Beauty Treasure Trails.   We though, skipped past the dinosaurs, Egyptian artefacts and rockets to the education centre where we spent two happy hours (S and A first, and then L and a chum) being trees, fairies, bluebirds and rocks (me only - so that my bluebird could perch on the top), and waving our wands, pointing our toes and generally having a marvellous time.

The highlights?  For me, the live accompaniment, with piano (clavinova), and percussion.  Their ballet lessons happen with a tape, and I think the live music added enormously to the experience.  For L, "climbing on Mummy". And "seeing a real ballerina".  Though as the ballerina in question (actually one of the Scottish Ballet's ballet teachers) was not wearing a tutu, we had to have a fairly heated debate about whether she actually counted.

Lack of tutus (and costumes, which we had hoped to see) aside, we had a wonderful morning and can heartily recommend the workshops, and, perhaps more, Scottish Ballet's wonderful website and youtube channel which have a wealth of resources for children of all ages.


Obvious disclosure - Scottish National Ballet invited us to come to the workshops (normally £6) for nothing.  They have also offered B and me a pair of tickets for the actual show (we reckoned the girls were a bit young still). I can't wait!


  1. Ballerinas without tutus? What is the world coming to?

  2. We got invited to this and I tried very hard to persuade my sons, but they just weren't having it! I'm so glad it was magical.

  3. Iota - I KNOW! Rubbish! Still, we're off to the real thing on Saturday and if there aren't tutus then I really will get cross.

    Ellen - If you ever want to borrow a girl, I have plenty....


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