Observing the rules of etiquette when going to ballet is natural for a cultured adult. What about a child? Children are less predictable and more spontaneous in their reactions, so you can’t be insured against surprises. But minimizing the risks is quite possible. With the right approach, a 5-7 year old child is often ready to debut as a spectator. How to properly prepare your kid for this event?
It is much easier to talk about the rules of conduct with interested children. That is why, talk with your children about ballet and choose a repertoire appropriate for their age: today there are enough productions based on children's fairy tales. Or begin with watching a ballet at home, we have already talked about three perfect performances. Watch the video version with your child, read the libretto. If the plot seemed fascinating - buy tickets.
Choose the right seats
It is a pleasure to watch a ballet from the central seats of the stalls, but theatrical etiquette obliges you to take care of others first of all. A child may urgently want to go to the bathroom, cafeteria or home, and leaving the auditorium during the performance means rudely interfering with the artists and spectators. Think beforehand about the escape routes in case of force majeure. For the first visit, choose seats located closer to the exit, preferably in the boxes or on the balcony.
Choose the clothes wisely
At all times, going to the ballet has been a festive occasion, so beautiful dresses and costumes are very welcome. But beauty should not require sacrifice from your child, because the performance can last up to three hours.
Business dress code is also acceptable. For example, it is quite appropriate for a student to go to the theater in the uniform after school.
You can’t always predict the temperature in the auditorium, so it would be good if the child's outfit is multi-layered. Consider a cardigan or a jacket that you can easily put on and off and that doesn't take up a lot of space.
Please note that in winter and autumn you should have a second pair of shoes for your kid and street shoes must be checked in together with the coat.
Do everything in advance
Theatrical etiquette requires punctuality. Half an hour before the performance will be enough for you and your child to check in your overclothes, fix your hair, change your shoes if necessary, go to the restroom and examine the foyer.
There is one rule for all: you must take your seats in the auditorium no later than the third ring, but it matters where you sit. The closer to the center you sit, the earlier you need to come to the auditorium, and vice versa. Otherwise, there may be congestions between the rows.
Latecomers may not be allowed into the auditorium, except, perhaps, on the balcony. But if an exception was made for you, sit down on the nearest vacant seats, don’t disturb the artists and other spectators.
Teach your child to be quiet and respond appropriately
Before the performance, everybody turns off the sound on their phones and, if possible, watch the production in silence. But for children, the latter requirement is difficult: they will, most likely, need your prompts and want to share emotions. Discuss theater etiquette beforehand at home and practice whispering at play.
Violation of the usual rhythmic structure interferes with the dancers, that is why ovations are permissible only in suitable places. Agree in advance with your child that they will applaud together with you.
What should parents take to the theater?
Eating while watching a ballet is the height of bad manners. But when you go to the theater with your child for the first time, the rule may be eased. As a last resort, you can take some non-smelly and non-crunchy snack, such as dried fruit. But it's better to wait for the intermission and visit the cafeteria together - kids love it.
As for a small bottle of still water, we recommend to take one to the auditorium. It will help in case of dry mouth and unexpected coughing. But just plain water - not juices or lemonades. And the bottle must close tightly.
Wet wipes are another important item. And make sure that all packages don’t make harsh noises!
Remember that children often copy their parents unwittingly. If you sincerely love ballet, your child will most likely be interested in it too. If you have already gone to academic theaters with children, we invite you to share your experience in the comments down below.