Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker" DVD Review

My six and three year old daughters have been doing ballet moves since before they could say please and thank you. “Besq” was in the list of my six year old’s first 10 words, a toddler abbreviation of “arabesque”! She and my 3 year old dance their way through most days to music on the radio, on the computer, and occasionally to the cartoon “Angelina Ballerina”. Suffice it to say I have seen a large number of ballet programs aimed at young girls in my 10 years as a mother. In "Prima Princessa Presents the Nutcracker” I have found a way to introduce my daughters to superior quality ballet in an age appropriate fashion!

DVD Description
I will give you a detailed look into the first 15 or 20 minutes of "Prima Princessa Presents the Nutcracker". The show begins with a montage of scenes with young girls playing in the yard in sprinklers, in the snow in snow gear, and in a beautifully appointed living room clustered around a Christmas tree and a television, watching the ballet “The Nutcracker”. The camera zooms in on the TV screen in the living room, and the animated ballerina fairy Prima Princessa begins to narrate the Nutcracker story. At this point, my six year was inspired to retrieve her own leotard and tutu! Several minutes into the ballet, I asked how she liked the DVD so far, and she said “I love it. And I think it’s good that Pima Princessa is telling the story of the ballet”. My daughters were on their feet the entire time, mimicking the moves on the stage and improvising some of their own.

After the first half of the first act, Prima Princessa says “Let’s take a break from the show and do some dancing!” My girls both said “yeah!” and jumped to their feet. Prima Princessa instructs verbally how to do a passé (a ballet position putting the foot close to the knee of the standing leg), and then the viewers are given visuals of a pink flamingo doing a passé, then by the Nutcracker’s character “Clara” doing the proper positioning for a passé on the screen. Other ballerinas and little girls are shown on the screen doing a passé while Prima Princessa continues to reiterate that the move they are watching and copying is called a passé. The viewers are praised for their efforts in learning how to do a passé, and then told that it is time to go back to the show. My toddler son yells and claps “I did it!” when he hears the praise for learning the move, and my 3 year old scurries for the couch, exclaiming “Now we have to go back to our seats!”

My Reflections
Among the many things I loved about this DVD were its integration of Prima Princessa the narrating ballerina fairy, its "kids just like me in a living room just like mine", and the way the creators of it really thought through its design. The narration that Prima Princessa does during the stage performance is just exactly enough talking. She points out things that little eyes might not notice during the slower portions, and she is quiet during very active portions of the ballet. My preschooler was chasing her across the screen trying to catch her. Having a review montage and narration when the ballet returns to the screen after the dance breaks is a wonderful idea. Also, the dance breaks are just long enough to keep children interests, and get them ready to watch more ballet!

Why Your Friends and Family Would LOVE This DVD
If you have a preschooler or a young elementary school age daughter, she is sure to love the Prima Princessa line of DVDs! The young performers on the stage will inspire her. The young performers dancing with her under the instruction of Prima Princessa the animated ballerina fairy will show her that other little ballerinas out there are dancing in their living rooms too! Prima Princessa’s “The Nutcracker” is a wonderful introduction to live action ballet designed specifically for the attention span of a preschooler!

For more information on the creators and how the DVD came to be, please follow this link: "Prima Princessa Presents the Nutcracker" .


Muthering Heights said...

She looks BEAUTIFUL!!!

Belinda said...

Thank you for this review! I grew up on classical music so it was natural of me to be exposed to the the full-length ballets from an early age. I had, by then, developed a pretty decent attention span. However, I now have nephews and nieces that grew up on Little Einstein and Disney versions of talking princesses. I'm a little concerned how I can get them to transition to something that doesn't talk. My sister-in-law didn't even know that Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were fairy tales before they became a Disney movie! I tried to correct that with an old-fashioned Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale book, but what can be done wean children to stories that provide more room for imagination? Hopefully, this will be a good introduction. I'll take a look and thanks for the review.

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