Ballets to See with Children

June 19, 2006

When people think of a family vacation with lots of kid-friendly activities, Disneyland comes to mind. But a trip to Europe can also include activities that are fun for both parents and their kids.

Seeing a ballet performance during your trip can be entertaining for children, particularly if the subject matter is appropriate for them and the story is one that they can understand and enjoy.

Here are our favorite ballets for children, all of which are packed with vibrant colors, elaborate sets and huge casts of dancers and actors. (See below for listings of where these ballets are playing in Europe.)

The Nutcracker (also called Lo Schiaccianoci in Italian)

Clara receives a doll for Christmas that is transformed into a prince during the night. The prince saves her from the Rat King and then whisks her off to the Kingdom of the Sweets where royal guests dance in her honor. Productions often feature children as part of the cast. Read the full synopsis.

Cinderella (also called La Cenerentola in Italian or Cendrillon in French)

Cinderella, forced to serve her evil stepsisters, is given an extraordinary gift, a night at the prince’s ball. Her lost silver slipper holds the key to making all of her dreams come true.

La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter)

Lise wants to marry the villager Colas, but her mother has other ideas. Her mother’s attempts to marry her off to a rich man lead to comic results, none of which turn out as planned. Read the full synopsis.

The Sleeping Beauty

Complete with fairies, a prince and storybook characters, this ballet follows the story of Princess Aurora who is forced to sleep until a prince comes to wake her with a kiss. Read the full synopsis.

Don Quixote (also called Don Quichotte)

In this ballet set in Spain, Lorenzo plans to marry his daughter Kitri to the geeky Gamache.  But she is in love with Basilio. Basilio and Kitri trick Lorenzo into giving them a marriage blessing. This ballet is full of dance pyrotechnics -- exciting and challenging turns and jumps. Read the full synopsis.


The inventor Doctor Coppélius has made a doll so life-like that Franz falls in love with it. Swanilde, his true love and a real girl, exposes his mistake by pretending to be the doll.

See also:

Listings of ballet performances in Europe this season

Related Articles

Sign up for our newsletter
Stay up-to-date with all the latest news including special offers and announcements.