I’ve heard from a lot of readers lately who are huge Disney fans but are not local to any of the theme parks and who may not be able to visit them often so they’re wondering what they can do to get a little but of Disney magic either at home or in smaller day trips and other vacations.
I’m planning on writing a post all about the different events and experiences you can find locally that will give you a similar sense of ‘magic’ but one way I like to experience the same level of storytelling outside of the theme parks is by attending ballets and Broadway-style shows, especially if they follow one of the stories you’re familiar with from Disney films or from the parks.
We recently attended Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty at the Boston Opera House, and I’m so excited to share everything we loved about it so you can get an idea of how these kinds of experiences can give you that little fix of magic!
(Boston Ballet graciously provided me with complimentary tickets to The Sleeping Beauty. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.)
Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty translates the classic fairy tale into a beautiful ballet complete with elaborate costumes, set designs, and a talented group of dancers from Boston Ballet. Petipa (1818-1910) is considered the “father of classical ballet” a status that is evident through the choreography on display in The Sleeping Beauty. This performance features additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton (1904-1988) whose signature English style adds to Petipa’s classical choreography in this rendition of The Sleeping Beauty.
The musical score by Tchaikovsky sets the tone for the performance, and it includes “Grande valse villageoise” (or “The Garland Waltz”) which you may recognize as the classic song in the Disney animated feature film as “Once Upon a Dream.” During this week’s performances, the orchestra is conducted by Ming Luke, who worked with Boston Ballet during the 2016 performances of The Nutcracker and is currently the principal guest conductor for San Francisco Ballet.
The set design for The Sleeping Beauty may have been my favorite of any ballet in recent years. The forced perspective used in the backgrounds for the various scenes combined with the intricate level of detail put into the designs really made it seem as though the setting was much more expansive than the actual size of the stage. The sets were designed by David Walker, who was also responsible for the stunning costume designs you see on the dancers themselves who truly look to be right out of a fairy tale.
Seeing a performance like The Sleeping Beauty really does leave you with the same feeling you have when you step through Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland or walk past the mosaic on the interior of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World. Seeing a ballet like The Sleeping Beauty or any other more familiar fairytale stories can also be a nice way to introduce younger kids to the world of ballet. While I do think seeing a ballet for the first time is a lot like visiting one of the parks for the first time (as in some kids may be ‘ready’ for it at a younger age whereas others are not, and it’s totally up to the parents to make this decision for themselves) ballets with a familiar story like The Sleeping Beauty can often work well for younger kids.
With performances being over two hours long having a story that kids already know can make it easier to follow and hold their interest easier than a story they’ve never encountered before. Moreover, if you’re looking for any excuse to pick up a fancy dress (or the adorable fairy wings sold during the performances!) this is definitely an experience where you can bring the kids wearing their best. You can learn more about attending a ballet with kids on Boston Ballet’s FAQ page.
Tickets for Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty start at $35, and with just five performances (through May 19, 2018), I would get your tickets asap! This ballet was the perfect kick-off to spring (which has finally arrived here in Boston) and it was one of the most memorable Fantasyland-esque experiences I’ve had outside of the Magic Kingdom. Tickets are available online at bostonballet.org or by calling the box office at 617-695-6955.
✨ P.S. if you aren’t visiting Boston until next spring, you can still see experience a classic fairy tale with Boston Ballet as next season includes performances of Cinderella. ✨