Everything You Need to Know About Attending the Ballet with Kids

Bringing children to the ballet for the first time can be intimidating. Today on the PNB blog, we’re walking through the experience of attending a show with kids, from picking a performance to enjoying intermission together. For each step along the way, we’ve got a tip or two to help you experience the magic of ballet with a special little one in your life!

Pick a Performance You’ll Both Love

First, choose a show you and your child will enjoy. PNB’s story ballets are a popular choice for kids. Often, PNB School students perform in these shows, so kids in the audience can envision themselves on stage. Plus, the intricate, colorful sets of many story ballets enchant adults and children alike! PNB’s Family Matinee performances are another popular choice. These shows are designed especially for kids, with run times around an hour and a narrated story. 

Choose Stellar Seats for Children

Once you have picked a performance, it is time to select your seats. We recommend the Gallery section for young audience members. The Gallery starts on the main floor and slopes up to meet the First Tier. This steep angle ensures it’s easy to see over people’s heads no matter how tall you are! In the Gallery, you are close to the stage and elevated above the rows in front of you. Choose an aisle seat if your child might need a break from the performance. Then, you can easily leave the theater. 

Explore the Ballet’s Story Together

A few days before the ballet, familiarize yourself and your child with the production. For a story ballet, read about the plot and the characters on the PNB blog. Reviewing the story in advance can help prevent confusion when you watch the performance, and it is an opportunity to discuss complex or potentially scary moments. Or, watch some video clips of the production together and discuss what you’re excited to see to build excitement!

Set Yourself Up for Success on Performance Day

Once the big day has finally arrived, you’ll want to set yourself up for success! Arrive at your performance around thirty minutes early, so you have ample time to park and get to your seats before the show begins. Grab a complimentary booster cushion at coat check for any kids in your group. Wander around the lobby, admire ballet costumes up close, and snap a photo together before heading to your seats!

Take Advantage of Intermission

Intermission is an opportunity for kids (and adults) to get their wiggles out between pieces. Walk down to the orchestra pit and peek in for a glimpse behind the scenes. Grab a snack and hit the bathroom before the show begins again. To take advantage of all 20 minutes or so, pre-order your refreshments when you arrive at McCaw Hall, so you don’t have to wait in line during the intermission rush. 

Before you know it, the show will be over! We hope we’ve answered all your questions about attending the ballet with kids in this blog post, but if we haven’t, our Box Office team is happy to help. Call them at 206-441-2424 or email them at tickets@pnb.org, and they will have the answers to your specific questions. We hope you and your little one join us at the ballet soon!

Photo credits: PNB School students in Coppélia, photo © Angela Sterling. PNB Orchestra at McCaw Hall, photo © Into Dust Photography. Young audience members, photo © Lindsay Thomas. McCaw Hall booster seats, photo © Lindsay Thomas. PNB Company dancers and PNB School students in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, photo © Lindsay Thomas.