A classic holiday activity is watching The Nutcracker Ballet. It’s also a great educational experience! Check out these 12 Nutcracker Ballet activities.
The Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday favorite, and one your family may enjoy from year to year. Whether you
enjoy The Nutcracker through book form or go to the live ballet, you should know there are ways to use this
art form to teach important educational skills. Look at these 12 educational lessons using The Nutcracker
Ballet, so you can enjoy everything this age-old classic has to offer!
Nutcracker Ballet Activities That Are Educational
1. Study the life and works of Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky is one of the greatest composers ever known and completed The Nutcracker Ballet as well as
several other famous ballets. Take the time to explore a biography of this great composer and take listen to
his other works.
2. Compare classical music to modern forms of music.
Many children are not familiar with classical music. Listen to samples of classical music and compare them to modern-day forms of music. Talk about how they are alike, and how they are different. You can create a chart to show your findings.
3. Explore the health benefits of ballet.
Ballet takes an amazing amount of hard work. Watch clips of ballerinas and talk about some of the health benefits of dance may be. Think about which muscle groups are being worked, on and what types of preparations a dancer may have to do to prep their body.
4. Listen to measurements and measurement patterns in music.
In The Nutcracker, you will hear a waltz as well as other familiar music patterns. Listen to music from this
ballet and try counting the beats. Listen for how the counts repeat. For example, a waltz will have a ONE,
TWO, THREE, ONE, TWO, THREE repetitive counts.
5. Talk about how music can convey feelings.
Music can convey feelings, and you can hear this, especially in The Nutcracker. Listen for examples in the
music where the music may help convey a feeling. For example, during the battle scene, the music makes the listener feel danger and fear, while the waltz of the flowers is light and airy.
6. Compare and contrast two different versions of the story.
There have been so many different versions of The Nutcracker over the years. Find two different variations.
Watch each and see how they are alike and how they are different. It is fun to see how various choreographers interpret the story.
7. Look for elements of fantasy in the story.
The Nutcracker contains many elements of fantasy. The growing Christmas tree and fighting mice are just a
few examples. Take a peek at the ballet and make a list of the elements of fantasy that you can find.
8. Interview a dancer who has participated in the ballet.
See if a local ballet company will allow you to interview a dancer from the local production of The Nutcracker. Ask the dancer about his or her role and what goes into preparing for that role.
9. Explore some of the countries represented in the ballet.
Russia and Spain are two of the countries represented in the ballet. Talk about some of the other places
represented and talk about how the costumes and music make the country come to life.
10. Talk about the various instruments used to create the score of the ballet.
The music is the other star of this ballet. Talk about the orchestra that would be used to perform the score. Listen to the various instruments.
Talk about the instruments that interest you most or seem to be utilized the
11. Take a look at a real nutcracker and talk about various Russian traditions.
Find a real, wooden nutcracker and explore it. You can even try using it to crack nuts. The tale of The
Nutcracker is from Russia, so now is an excellent time to discover and explore other Russian traditions,
especially those practiced during the holidays.
12. Have some fun with math.
Figure out some fun Nutcracker facts using math. You can use subtraction to figure out how old the actual Nutcracker ballet is. You can also use math to figure out how old Tchaikovsky was when he died. You can time the running length of the ballet, or even estimate the number of seats in a local theatre.
As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to enjoy The Nutcracker Ballet long after the curtain has come down. Consider these educational lessons this winter season, and see just how fun (and educational!) this famous ballet can be!