Taking Kids to the Ballet

We're glad you're sharing your love of dance with the next generation. Here's how to ensure smooth sailing for everyone.

The Basics

Can your child sit quietly in his or her own seat and happily enjoy a two-hour performance without talking? Great! We look forward to seeing them at San Francisco Ballet. To ensure an enjoyable and relaxed experience for everyone, we recommend that children be at least 5 years old to attend Nutcracker and at least 8 years old to attend Repertory Season performances. Repertory Season performances, including story ballets, are often more than two and a half hours long and are not always ideal for younger children. If you're questioning whether or not to bring your children, scroll down to "Is My Child Ready?" for three quick questions to help you decide.

Please note: For Nutcracker, no children under 3, including babes in arms. For Repertory Season, no children under 5, including babes in arms. Everyone entering the Opera House, regardless of age, must have a ticket, and children must be seated with an accompanying adult. No lap sitting.

Consider selecting an aisle seat when bringing your children in case quick exit is needed for an unavoidable visit to the restroom, or for a talkative or restless child. Anyone of any age creating a disturbance will be asked to leave the auditorium.

Preparing For The Performance

Explain to your children the difference between attending a live performance and going to the movies or watching TV at home. In a live performance, we are very quiet so as not to disturb the performers or other audience members. We also think it's a good idea to introduce your child to the story they will see and the music they will hear. Google the ballet and you will find clips of our production, as well as other ballet company productions on YouTube.

Arriving In Style

Arrive early to enjoy the atmosphere of the Opera House and to allow time to visit the restroom before taking your seat. Restrooms are located on all levels except the Main Floor/Orchestra level. Pick up a program book and, if you're seeing a story ballet, read the synopsis to your child. Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or concessions kiosks located throughout the Opera House.

Inside the Auditorium

Before the performance begins, please remind children not to talk or ask questions during the performance and to remain seated without touching or kicking the seat in front of them. When the lights dim, and the music begins, it is quiet time. Remember, eating food, including candy, is not allowed in the auditorium. If you think you'll need cough drops, please unwrap a few before the performance starts.

Out of consideration for other audience members, we ask that you quickly remove a child who creates a disturbance during the performance. Booster seats for small children are provided free of charge for use on the Orchestra level at Nutcracker performances. 

Is My Child Ready?

Here are a couple of quick questions to determine if your child is ready for a trip to the ballet. If you answer "yes" to all of these you should be good to go.

  • Has your child already enjoyed a two-hour movie or another form of live entertainment without talking or moving around?

  • Is your child comfortable and happy sitting in her or his own seat without disturbing others nearby?

  • Has your child demonstrated the ability to hold a question for later?

As a courtesy, we wish to inform you that there are no refunds or exchanges if you must leave the theater because your child was unhappy or disruptive.