Do not miss the Royal Ballet School’s Peter & the Wolf! All the dancers (save Grandpa, played by a ballet Master) are students and what great work they do! During the Pandemic, The Royal Ballet put up a special video of their school performing this ballet anew–each time the company does a production, the dancers swap roles, so it’s special to see how the dancing changes.
Please note: links for this ballet often change. YouTubers and Content Owners frequently take down links and add new ones so if you find this is out of date, a simple youtube search for “Peter and the Wolf Ballet” will find you another option.
Peter and the Wolf is such a beloved story it’s inspired at least two major composers to render the story into song. In my class, we begin with the symphony Sergei Prokofiev composed to introduce children to the orchestra. I love the Little Long Playing Record Disney produced, I know I had one as a child. In the class, I use a recording Disney produced for the titular cartoon featuring narration by Boris Karloff. Here is the link to buy and the link to hear in entirety on YouTube. This was also a cartoon you might have seen in your childhood. It doesn’t appear in it’s entirety on youtube–so far as i can find–but there are so many foreign language cartoons of the story there, it’s remarkable! If you haven’t seen the Disney version, maybe you’ve seen this Mel-O-Toon from the 60s.
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of dancing with over 30 new friends at the Mountain View Library! My thanks and gratitude to Miss Sharon McClintock for establishing the program and inviting so many lovely families! Below, read about what we did, a bit about why we did it, and find some links to the material I used so you can keep teaching your child about the rich traditions of Grand Ballet!
Our class began with a circle to remind us all we are a friendly team. Then, the children stretch their hamstrings chasing after a quick little “spider,” they use core muscles to “bake a cupcake,” and they arch their backs like caterpillars eating. Thereafter, we began an overview of the ballet’s story. Peter and the Wolf is the subject of two major compositions. We began with the symphony Sergei Prokofiev composed to introduce children to the orchestra. I used a recording Disney produced to suit a cartoon you might remember from your childhood. London’s Royal Ballet School has a wonderful production of the ballet you can see here.
First, the children learn Peter’s soldier-like posture and sharp marching. Then they learn the quick wrist movements of the bird who flitters in the woods, the waddle of the duck, and the pas de chat of the cat. Then we practice muscle contractions to mimic the posture of the stealthy wolf. Then, because the kids had demonstrated focus, I rewarded them with a silly dance — we spun to the spinning dance and then danced around and jumped around until it was time for reverence (our gracious thank you bows). We finished with a puppet show set to the other famous Peter and the Wolf, Norway’s Peer Gynt, by Edvard Grieg. The puppets moved to the song, “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”
I teach etiquette and ballet at preschools around the South Bay. If you’re interested in bringing Dance with Miss Sara to your preschool, please contact me: BalletChalet@gmail.com.
Thank you so much for letting me dance with your wonderful children!