I have such great memories of my aunt taking me to see The Nutcracker when I was a little kid. Getting all dressed up and going downtown with her at Christmas time was a favorite holiday tradition. Ahh – memories. I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
I was just as excited this year at the opportunity to take my own family to see The Nutcracker at the Aronoff.
We’ve been studying and learning about the life and music of Peter Tchaikovsky in our curriculum this year so it seemed fitting to bring it all together by seeing the ballet. We read a couple of story books about it in the last few weeks also, so the kids understood the storyline. Knowing a little bit about the story really helped them appreciate the performance. They knew what was going on and looked forward to each part. It was great.
Being all dressed up at the gorgeous Aronoff Theatre. The music, the costumes, the dancers. It was all amazing. I brought my mom, too. It was the perfect festive family day.
My kids are 6 and 8 and they were the perfect age to introduce them to the ballet and The Nutcracker. I was nervous about my 6 year old boy, but he loved it! The show held his attention just fine. They watched the orchestra in complete awe and pointed out the different instruments.
There were so many great parts of the ballet. The dancers and costumes were breathtaking. Watching my kids follow Clara through her fantastic journey in the land of sweets with her nutcracker prince was awesome. There was a huge dragon and a giant chicken that laid an egg. It was great. So whimsical and fun. You should add this to your list of things to do with the kids each year.
It was different than the version I remember watching with my aunt because this holiday favorite saw a re-envisioning in 2011! There are new sets by John Ezell, costumes by Carrie Robbins, lighting by Trad A Burns and choreography by Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan. So it was like watching a different show. Same but different. I loved it!
Some handy tips for taking kids to see The Nutcracker
Get there early enough to take a picture with the nutcracker and some real life ballerinas. Awesome!
Bring some extra money for the concession stand at intermission. (Or bring your own.) Snacks and drinks are good for a two hour show.
Read a story book like this one or this one before heading to the theatre. Knowing the story line (which let’s be honest..is pretty wild) really helps kids excited to see the next part or to see what is different from the story they read. There is also a nice synopsis in the program to read.
Bring binoculars if you’re sitting in the balcony. Kids love being able to see things up close and using binoculars just makes everything more fun anyway.
Read the program! There are some really interesting facts in there. Like, The Sugar Plum Fairy wears out one pair of pointe shoes during each performance! What!? That is some dancing!
Bring a doll or favorite stuffed animal to enjoy the show as well. I reluctantly said yes when my kids asked on the way out the door. But, almost every child I saw had a doll or animal as well! So, I guess my kids knew something I didn’t.
Make sure to pick up a seat booster. They are really great about handing them out when they see kids, but just in case you got missed, seek one out. They are genius. Every theatre should have them.
Bring a long lasting lollipop. This was great for us. I broke these babies out during the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and I was a hero. Just make sure you unwrap them during intermission, if they have crinkley wrappers! 😉
Don’t wear twinkle toe shoes. haha. This is kind of a silly tip, but a child had them on during our show and it was pretty distracting. It’s so dark in there and those things put off so much light every time she kicked or moved.
Go to the bathroom before it starts! This is pretty obvious if you have kids, but the potty line during intermission is super long and getting up in the dark from the middle of an isle is difficult.
They have amazing and beautiful nutcrackers for sale during the show. So plan accordingly. Or you can even buy one elsewhere and bring it as a gift. (I have a friend who uses this concept at Disney and I thought it was so smart!)
Enjoy the show! It’s such a fantastic holiday tradition.
There are still three performances this season. Don’t miss it!
- Saturday, December 26 – 2:00 pm with a Sugar Plum Parade
- Saturday, December 26 – 7:30 pm
- Sunday, December 27 – 1:00 pm
Aronoff Center for the Arts
650 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Call 513.621.5282 or Visit cballet.org or Visit the Cincinnati Ballet Box Office at 1555 Central Parkway
Tickets start at $32