I believe I’ve mentioned before how much my three-year-old daughter adores ballet. I was a dancer in a past life and have several videotapes of ballets that we started watching together when she was old enough to enjoy a bit of television. Now, she takes dance classes at the Cincinnati Ballet’s school, and her library of DVDs includes everything from Sleeping Beauty to Giselle.
I’m always looking for ballet-related books and DVDs, but my standards are high. I want materials that are true to the spirit of the works they represent while also showing dancers using proper technique. I’m pleased to report that there’s a new DVD out that does both of these things. It’s called Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake, and it’s the first in what its creators hope will be a series of DVDs teaching young kids about popular ballets.
Narrated by an animated character called Prima Princessa (who, herself, has pretty good ballet technique!), this DVD tells the story of Swan Lake using a production by the Paris Opera Ballet. In between segments, steps are demonstrated by students at the School of American Ballet, one of the best in the country. Plus, there’s charming footage of young girls making up their own steps and having fun with dance. I like it because they’re a diverse group, and they obviously are enjoying themselves. My only quibble is that these segments are repeated so that you have to sit through each one twice. I’ve seen this done with the Teletubbies, and I’m sure there’s some educational reason for playing a segment two times in a row, but I found it a bit annoying and my daughter started to lose interest.
In all, though, she really liked watching the Prima Princessa DVD. The story was easy to follow, the dancing was gorgeous, and the parts with the young dancers were both engaging and aspirational. I hope the makers of this DVD will be able to do more!
You can buy the Prima Princessa DVD through Amazon. Or leave me a comment, and I will hold a drawing for a free copy. Comments should be posted by 11:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, April 8. I’ll draw a name before heading to bed.
And… we have a winner. It’s Jen who, coincidentally, lives in my home state! (Though I’m not at all certain she’s a Jayhawk fan.) Jen, email your snail mail address to saraWMAG (at) gmail dot com, and I will have the Prima Princessa folks send you the DVD.