Saturday, May 3, 2008

An Afternoon of Culture

As I mentioned in a previous post, my daughter and I were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the ballet this past weekend. We went with my daughter’s friend and her mother, who I have become friendly with (through our daughters’ dance class last year and now through school activities). They had 4 free tickets to see the Rochester City Ballet’s performance of “Cinderella” and were thoughtful enough to invite us to join them. The girls both looked so cute, all dressed up to go to “the theatre!”

I have to say, for a 2-1/2 hour show that was all classical music and ballet dancing, with no talking or singing to explain the story, our girls were VERY well behaved! Aside from my having to tell my daughter once early on, “Please stop fidgeting in your seat!” To which she responded, “Why?” and I answered, “Because it is very distracting to me and to the people around you.” But that was it, so I was very proud of her! (My poor children -- manners are a big thing with me -- I'm sure they'll find me to be quite a drag!)

I think it is so wonderful to expose your children to different types of cultural events. It is so important to broaden their horizons and to show them that there is a world beyond Gameboy and the Disney Channel (not that those aren't wonderful things, but...). I feel fortunate that my parents raised me to have an appreciation of music, in particular, classical. And I have wonderful memories of getting dressed up at Christmastime and going to see The Nutcracker at the Eastman Theatre with my grandparents.

Offering your children the opportunity to experience a cultural event does not have to break the bank! Check out your local high schools - there are a lot of talented kids performing in school concerts, musicals and plays. Or check your local paper or entertainment guide for free or inexpensive concerts and performances - my town has Gazebo Concerts on Sundays at our town hall, and there are Concerts by the Shore down at the beach, just to name a few! And, don't forget your local history museum or art gallery - there are so many options for opening up new worlds to your children.

Who knows, maybe one of these will inspire your child to be the next Georgia O'Keeffe or Mikhail Baryshnikov? I know that after the ballet, my daughter went to school and drew a lovely picture of herself in a tutu and labeled it "Me as a Famous Dancer!"

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