Review – Alberta Ballet: The Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers

credit: Paul McGrath

It sends tiny little swords into my feminist heart when my boys dismiss something as “just for girls.” It makes me sad because “just” means two things: “exclusively,” but also “merely” and it’s the latter meaning that I am trying to battle. I have to say, it’s a tough fight when so much that is geared to children is marketed to a specific gender. For example, I have never taught them that Sofia the First is a girls’ show, but they have got the message, loud and clear! Similarly, I have never taught them ballet is for girls, but the push-back I got when I brought up going to see Alberta Ballet’s presentation of The Three Musketeers was impressive.

The Three MusketeersThrough some concentrated discussions, I managed to convince my five year old that this would be a good one to go to. I explained the athleticism of the dancers (“They do jumps and lift the other dancers up, it’s like stunts”) and the swordfights would be cool to see. For an added bonus, and what finally tipped the scales was the special preshow “Musketeers in the Making.”
The event was geared to families, and offered the chance for kids to decorate foam swords and shields and crowns at tables staffed by volunteers from Alberta Ballet. There were costumes to try on and model, plus a demonstration from the Edmonton Fencing Club, who also brought gear for people to try for themselves. There was a tasty buffet of snacks and desserts and family friendly refreshments. One dad I spoke with questioned the wisdom of equipping children with swords and sweets before expecting them to sit for two hours. Added excitement for the parents too I guess!
Three Musketeers
As it turned out, and perhaps not surprisingly, it was the best part of the night. If you have helped out in a kindergarten class, you will already know what I should have cottoned on to…five year olds have a tough time sitting quietly for two hours when it involves something that is fascinating to them. If the subject matter is less than scintillating for their senses, no matter how beautiful the dancing and costumes, or how much their mother wants to stay, good luck!

Three Musketeers

credit: Paul McGrath

In that hyper-sensitive state parents can work themselves into when parenting in public, I started to shush every noise coming from the small person in the seat beside me, applying the deathgrip-on-knee move that is a favourite in theatres and churches throughout the land in response to every fidget. Many of his questions were about what was going on onstage, but the sideways glares I was getting from the hag in front of us made me think answering them in situ was not the best idea.
So, eagerly and grudgingly, respectively, my son and I left at the intermission. In our show recap on the train home, he did declare the way the set opened to become another scene was “magic” and recounted the funny parts, so I’m still glad we went. He has become very eager to learn more about the Three Musketeers, so I’m putting it in the win column.
Alberta Ballet will be back in December with The Nutcracker and special “Toy Solider Teas” before each show!

Alberta Ballet: The Three Musketeers

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