The lights had only just gone down and the curtain was up. The narrator began to tell the tale of Sleeping Beauty and Millie pipes up: “Where’s the dancers?”. Giggles erupted from those ‘lucky’ enough to be seated near us. Millie just couldn’t take it any longer. She had been waiting a long time to see this performance – and she wasn’t disappointed.

We were at The Australian Ballet’s special child-friendly performance of Once Upon a Time: The Sleeping Beauty. It didn’t matter about the excited chatter, the wriggly chair hoppers or the occasional cry from a baby. We were at the ballet, an experience rarely offered to a three year old.

Twirling with excitement at the Arts Centre

Millie is in her second year of ballet lessons and we’re in the thick of the tutu phase. She loves ballet. So much so that she’ll even watch the entire Mariinsky Ballet performance of Swan Lake we recorded from the telly.

A couple of times a year The Australian Ballet will stage a magical ballet performance for the littlest lovers of dance. The abridged version of The Sleeping Beauty was a fully staged production performed with live music and narrated by the royal servant; Catalabutte.

Fairies in The Sleeping Beauty. PIC: The Australian Ballet
Fairies in The Sleeping Beauty. PIC: The Australian Ballet

The foyer was a sea of colourful tutus, proving the power of dance has not only taken hold of my girl but hundreds of children across Melbourne. The theatre itself had Millie in awe but it was the sets, live orchestra, costumes and dancing that had her talking about the experience for days. It was simply beautiful.

Tutu cute. Millie in the foyer before the show
Tutu cute. Millie in the foyer before the show

The length of the show was perfect for its audience at 55 minutes (no interval) and the addition of the narrator to explain the story was a necessary touch and I imagine would have saved a lot of q&a sessions with patient parents.

As the promo posters explained, there’s fairies, a villain and a sleeping princess – everything to keep the imagination of budding ballerinas twirling until the next show.

*MillieMummyMelbourne received two tickets to Once Upon a Time: The Sleeping Beauty for the purposes of a review

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