5 Ballets That Every Aspiring Ballerina Needs to See

Ballerina taking a knee after a performance

There is nothing quite like a ballet. The movement of the dancers astounds you and their agile ability inspires you. As a little girl, I was hypnotized by the glittering costumes and the delicate balance between the moves and music.

Here are the best ballets that every ballerina-young and old-needs to see. Every ballet is different but altogether truly magical and full of wonder, perfect for awakening inspiration for dancers and thespians alike.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a Christmas classic. I remember every year going up to Seattle to see the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and carry my own Nutcracker around. A lot of dance studios even put on their own Nutcracker production.

It is a ballet that all ages can enjoy and has a mix of whimsical costumes from the mice to the snowflakes. Everyone should have the chance to see it live at least once in their life. The movie simply does not compare.

Sleeping Beauty

The story of Sleeping Beauty is more than just a Disney classic. It is also a beautiful ballet. The dancers greatly use the language of dance and movement to tell this tale and entertain audiences. If you’ve studied ballet and the history, you’ll be able to interpret what certain movements mean and be able to follow along and enjoy the story in a different way than others would be able to.


Based on the fairytale, this ballet’s score and humorous tone is enough reason to go and see it. This fairytale favorite was first performed in Moscow, Russia in 1945 and is composed by Sergei Prokofiev. This ballet has inspired many choreographers since it was first performed which truly shows that it inspires “Happily Ever After’s” everywhere.

Swan Lake

This was Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s first ballet and has grown to be one of his best-known works. The story is about a princess named Odette who is cursed to be a swan by day and a human by night. A prince sees Odette turn into a human and instantly falls in love with her and a slight adventure with them ensues. It is said to be the base of the movie ‘Shrek,’ the Disney movie ‘The Swan Princess’ as well as other stories and legends. This ballet will amaze you with all of the features and transport you into a storybook.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Does the title sound familiar? If so, it’s because it’s a ballet based on Shakespeare beloved play, a Midsummer Night’s Dream! It brings fun-loving characters, fairies and mistaken identities onto the stage and makes a magical production for the entire family.

This will give you a new perspective on the art of storytelling and translating it into movements and costumes.

If you want to learn more about Grand Canyon University’s theatre program within the College of Fine Arts and Production, check out our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

Written by Lily Cooper, a professional writing major at Grand Canyon University.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.