English National Ballet and English National Ballet School present My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty
My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty is an enchanting version of the fairy tale ballet created especially for children aged three upwards.
As a baby, Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil Carabosse: on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. Her godmother the Lilac Fairy alters the spell so Aurora will not die but will sleep for 100 years, only to be awoken by true love’s kiss.
From Aurora’s christening in the grand hall of the palace, to her jubilant wedding celebrations, the popular fairy tale comes alive on stage.
With a narrator to help the young audience follow the story, and a shortened version of Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous music, this is the perfect introduction to the beauty of ballet, and a fantastic family day out.
This unique collaboration between English National Ballet and English National Ballet School is created by English National Ballet’s Associate Artist George Williamson and performed by second year students from English National Ballet School*.
Since its creation in 2012, over 200,000 people have enjoyed our My First Ballet series.
"A gorgeous treat for kids and parents."
The Daily Express
"a high-spirited, light-hearted production that children are sure to enjoy alongside their parents”
“The characterisation, storytelling, set and costume are all spot-on, leaving this young audience captivated to the very last moment…”
A Younger Theatre
*Please note a professional cast will perform at the Peacock Theatre in July 2016.
"What a joy! Gorgeous production"
"Really beautiful, glittering"
King Florestan and his Queen are celebrating the christening of their baby, Princess Aurora. Among their guests are the Princess’s fairy godmothers who each dance for her and bestow on her magical gifts of generosity, strength and vitality. Before the Lilac Fairy – the most important and powerful of the fairies – has the chance to present Aurora with her gift of wisdom, the wicked fairy Carabosse arrives. Carabosse is furious, claiming that she has not received an invitation to the party. The apologetic King calls on the Master of Ceremonies to investigate the wicked fairy’s claims only to find that Carabosse has indeed been omitted from the guest list.
As revenge for being overlooked Carabosse pronounces that Aurora will one day prick her finger on a needle and die. The Lilac Fairy, still able to grant Aurora a gift (but unable to completely undo Carabosse’s curse), decides to use her magic to lessen the curse. The Lilac Fairy pronounces that should Aurora prick her finger on a needle then she will not die, but rather fall into a deep sleep from which she will be awoken by true love’s kiss.
Needles and all other sharp objects are banned from the kingdom and a number of years pass.
As Princess Aurora prepares for her 16th birthday party she laughs and jokes with her friends about the princes who will attend the palace seeking her hand in marriage.
The 16th party celebrations begin and Aurora is introduced to four princes. She dances the Rose Adagio with each of them and contemplates which one to marry.
A mysterious cloaked guest appears and gives Aurora a gift of flowers. Aurora accepts the gift but she does not know that there is a needle hidden inside. She pricks her finger on the needle and begins to fall asleep. The cloaked guest reveals herself to be Carabosse, reiterates her curse and disappears.
Realising what has happened the Lilac Fairy appears, reassures everyone that everything will be alright, and casts a sleeping spell over the inhabitants of the palace – this way Aurora’s world is preserved while she sleeps. The Lilac Fairy also commands a forest to cover and protect the palace whilst everyone inside is sleeping and Aurora waits to be woken by true love’s kiss.
One hundred years have passed and Prince Désiré is hunting with members of his court. They play games but the Prince is unhappy and decides to spend some time on his own.
The Lilac Fairy appears and presents the Prince with a vision of Princess Aurora. The Prince is enchanted and pleads with her to take him to where the vision sleeps. The Lilac Fairy puts the Prince to a sleep so that he and Aurora can meet in their dreams. When the Prince awakens he knows what he needs to do to find his love and journeys into an enchanted forest. The Prince encounters various fairytale characters - Puss in Boots and the White Cat, the Bluebird and Princess Florine, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf – who help him find his way to the palace.
The Prince finally discovers the palace hidden in the overgrown forest. Carabosse confronts the Prince determined to stop him from saving Aurora, but the Lilac Fairy arrives to overpower Carabosse. The Prince kisses Aurora on the lips, and good overcomes evil. The spell is broken, Carabosse is vanquished, and Aurora is awoken from her hundred years of sleep.
The inhabitants of the palace busily prepare for the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré. The Lilac Fairy arrives to bless the happy couple, the marriage union is complete, and they all live happily ever after.
Concept and Direction
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Music recorded by
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland and Daryl Griffith. Produced by Philip Lane.
Teacher, Coach and Mentor
Petal Miller Ashmole
My First Ballet Workshop: Sleeping Beauty
Dance into an enchanted world of forests and fairies in this creative dance workshop taking place on the theatre stage. Learn extracts from the production with English National Ballet dance artists, get up-close to the dazzling tutus and stunning scenery, and experience the thrill of dancing on stage.
Workshops are suitable for children aged between 3 and 6 (and an accompanying adult) and can contribute towards Arts Award Discover. For more information about Arts Award, visit
Find out more and book your places here:
English National Ballet are delighted to be working in partnership with Widgit to make ballet more accessible to children with learning difficulties and disabilities, by creating a range of symbol resources.
Widgit symbols support written text to make the meaning clearer and easier to understand. All of these resources are available to download for free (PDF format) and you will also find extra activities in our printed programmes at theatres throughout the tour.
The My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty Symbol Resources are designed for use before, during and after performances.
Word games (1.9 MB) – including spelling, missing letters and more