Submitted by Sandy Elder, Michigan

Idea posted February 19, 2002

Ballet is one of my favorite things to teach.


  1. Tell a story while playing the music on a recording.
  2. Read a book about it.
  3. Play the music and have the kids guess what's happening in the story.
  4. Watch clips from videos.
  5. Culminating activity: Assign parts and have the kids pantomime the entire story while you play a recording of the music. You could even add costumes and perform on the spring program or invite other students to come watch.

I like The Firebird because it has monsters, princesses, a prince, an evil king, princes turned to stone, etc... right up the kids' alley. I also read Swan Lake by Pamela Kennedy and Russ Flint (Ideals Publishing, Nashville, TN, 1986), play some of the music, then watch the final act from the ballet on video. My version was a Great Performances production from the '80s and not available for purchase, but there's a new Swan Lake (set in the 1950s with male swans... very interesting looking) on the Great Performances web site.