Going to see the ballet has become more accessible for families than ever before, with The Australian Ballet recently announcing its first main-stage production designed specifically for children – Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty.
Currently touring Australia, this beautiful production is targeted at children aged three years old and up. Live and interactive, the Storytime Ballet features a narrator to guide children through the ballet story.
Unlike traditional ballets, the Storytime Ballet is under an hour in length to suit young attention spans. Children also have the chance to try on beautiful ballet costumes and to interact with the production by using glowing fairy wands. Oh and coming dressed up in ballet inspired outfits is encouraged!
Isobel Dashwood from Toowoomba in Queensland, a recent graduate of The Australian Ballet School, plays the characters of Princess Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty) and The Lilac Fairy. She describes the production as magical from start to finish.
“I think my favourite moment would be when the prince kisses Aurora to wake her from 100 years of sleep. I really love this part because personally being able to play Aurora, I get to completely lose myself in the scene,” Isobel enthuses.
“I can feel the magical kiss resonate in my whole body and my face fills with joy and hope. It actually feels like real magic is working on the stage. And who doesn’t want to be woken by true love’s kiss?”
Isobel may only 18 years of age, but she has already performed with the National Ballet School of Canada, trained with The Australian Ballet School and now performs for The Australian Ballet. In her latest role, she is inspiring a new generation of dancers, both amateur and professional, young and old.
“I think ballet is an incredible thing to learn. Whether you do it as a hobby or want to continue it as something more serious, it instills discipline, determination, work ethic and resilience; not to mention grace, passion and artistry,” Isobel said.
“I think starting young is so good too because it can help develop good co-ordination from a young age and stimulates the imagination in a child. I also made my best friends at dance class. You inspire each other while learning this incredible art form.”
With more than 420 000 children taking part in dance events every week in Australia, The Australian Ballet saw a need to nurture the future generation of ballet goers with a production that was created with children in mind at every stage of the creative process.
The resulting production of The Sleeping Beauty is a large-scale, elegant ballet, packed with dazzling dancing, sparkling tutus and enchanting Tchaikovsky music. Isobel describes it as ‘ethereal’.
“The way dancers move their bodies in this effortless way that is both exhilarating and beautiful makes it seem like it’s not from this world,” she said.
“Ballet transcends time and place and that makes it a universal art that people can connect with all over the world.”
To book tickets for The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty, visit australianballet.com.au/kids.
Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty Tour Dates
The Arts Centre, Gold Coast, QLD 29 – 30 March 2016
Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD 1 – 2 April 2016
The Events Centre, Caloundra, QLD 5 April 2016
Logan Entertainment Centre, Logan, QLD 7 – 8 April, 2016
Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney, NSW 12 – 13 April 2016
Laycock St Theatre, Gosford, NSW 18- 19 April 2016
Chatswood Theatre, Chatswood, NSW 22-23 April 2016
Noarlunga Hopgood Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia 27 April 2016
Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia 30 April – 1 May 2016