It can be really hard to find a good piece of ballet music for kids to enjoy, engage with and dance too. If you stream music, after 2 minutes of playing a classical music station, chances are your kid will begin to say they are bored – the music is too soft, slow or sounds repetitive and will ask you to put on something they can really dance to.
In this article, we will examine four different kinds of ballet and dance music that will keep any toddler and kid on their feet and exploring movement.
Types of Ballet and Dance Music:
In all four of these sections, you will easily find numerous songs with different speeds and themes for every occasion. These songs are perfect for spurring a child’s imagination. Continue reading to take a look at some of the songs you can pull from each of these categories for your little ballerinas and danseurs.
Scroll to the bottom for a link to a streamed playlist of all the songs!
Music From Ballets
What better music is there to use for ballet than music that was made for ballet? For children, two of the best ballets to look at are The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Both of these ballets were scored by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and appeal to the fantastical world of fairies and nature and magic.
Songs fromThe Nutcracker
Written in 1892, The Nutcracker is a story about a young girl and the nutcracker prince she receives as a gift for Christmas. It is filled with fairies and magic as the girl goes on an adventure to save the prince from the Mouse King. It is a gold mine for amazing compositions.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
This song from The Nutcracker is an incredibly recognizable tune for ears young and old. It is a whimsical song that brings to mind all sorts of magic. It is a classic and wonderful choice for children who love ballet.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Birds, Blooming Flowers
Dance of the Reed Flutes
Another pick from The Nutcracker ballet that continues the whimsical theme with a bit more fancy and fun. Children of all ages will enjoy running around to this one, pretending to be whatever their hearts desire.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Forest Creatures, Hide and Seek, Mischief
Waltz of the Flowers
There are so many different ways this song can be utilized for children in ballet class. It is a beautiful melody that invokes images of spring and the awakening dawn. “The Waltz of the Flowers” gives every kid the chance to frolic around and have a good time.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Birds, Forest Creatures, Springtime, Morning, Waking Up
Songs from Swan Lake
Swan Lake was written in 1876 and tells the story of a beautiful girl who has been turned into a swan by a jealous sorcerer. A prince falls madly in love with the girl, but they must go through many trials to be together. This story of magic and love provides some lovely songs that are perfect for any ballerina.
Dance of the Little Swans
This sweet song from Swan Lake is a light and fun tune that will have the kids prancing around the room. It has wonderful energy and a grand finish that allows children to enjoy themselves to the fullest from beginning to end.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Elves, Mice, Christmas Morning, Sneaking Around
This song goes from nice and slow and escalates to become much more dramatic. The differing stages of the tune tell a story that can easily be interpreted in different ways for ballet. It could be an excellent way to encourage kids to come up with their own versions of what is happening in the song.
Possible Themes: Prince vs. Dragon, Confrontation, Magic, Coming to the Rescue
All sorts of classical music are well suited to ballet. The combination of the piano and the strings and the wind instruments tells so many stories that can be brought out through dance. It makes wonderful music for children’s ballet because they can use their imaginations to see what they can create from each and every melody.
Air on G String
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Air” is a gorgeous song that gives a floating feeling to anyone that listens to it. There is a lot of room to fit the tune to many different scenarios that don’t require quick movement.
Possible Themes: Royalty, Magic, Falling Leaves
Arabesque No. 1
This song by Claude Debussy is a piano composition that fills the room with wonder. It is a slow-moving melody and lets children take a moment instead of running around constantly. There are a few quick-paced moments mixed in, but overall “Arabesque No. 1” is gentle and pleasing to the ear.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Mermaids, Bunny Rabbits, Waking Up, The Dawn
Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
This composition is from the suite by Modest Mussorgsky, “Pictures at an Exhibition.” It is an incredibly upbeat arrangement with a ton of energy and movement for little ones to have fun with. Just imagine a bunch of chicks running about with their legs poking out from their eggs. It’s that sort of sweet mayhem that makes this song perfect for kids of all ages.
Possible Themes: Sprites, Fairies, Forest Animals, Blizzard
This set of four compositions from Antonio Vivaldi represents each of the four seasons in different ways. Each of the four songs makes for wonderful storytelling to allow young minds to delve deep into their imaginations. Each song features three different movements and offers a variety of ways to get the little ones up and moving.
“Winter” is a fast and harsh song that easily fits in with the blizzardy conditions of the season. There is a sense of urgency that comes along with it. There is a point where it slows to give everyone a break and offers the chance for different movements. Children won’t be able to resist scampering around to the tune as it runs its course.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Small Animals, A Chase, Mischief, Blizzard
“Spring” has a very regal and lovely feel to it. You can almost feel the flowers blooming and the animals waking up as it plays out. It is much more light and airy than “Winter” and is perfect for children to get to prancing around the room as much as they please.
Possible Themes: Royalty, Fairies, A Parade, Animals Waking Up
“Summer” is deep and gentle in the way it begins. It starts off quite slow and even and almost has a curious nature to it. As it gets into the song there is a lot of dynamic sound for running around and working out all of that energy kids seem to have stored up in their little bodies.
Possible Themes: Heroes, Woodland Creatures, A Journey
“Autumn” brings with it the fanciful feeling that’s in the air at this time of year. It is light and happy and has a certain magic about it just like fall. There are so many ways to get children moving to this song. It’s full of fun and is sure to make for a good time for everyone involved.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Forest Animals, Galloping Horses, Magic, A Tea Party
This easily recognizable song by Ludwig van Beethoven is a classic that never goes out of style. It is a beautiful tune that shifts gears a few times to give children the option to incorporate all different sorts of movements into their dance.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Play Time, Magic
Hungarian Dance No. 1
Johannes Brahms composed this fantastic song that will have your kids scurrying all over the place. It is a lot of fun to listen to and even more fun to dance to. You can incorporate all sorts of themes with this music and keep your little dancers on their toes no matter how many times you use it.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Mermaids, Dragons, Witches, Magic, Danger
Composed by Johann Strauss, this peppy little polka is a fantastic way to get the kids up and moving. It is a quick-paced piece of music that would make anyone feel happy to dance. It’s a wonderful song to use for your little ballerinas.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Small Animals, Puppets, Masquerade Ball
Another song composed by Mussorgsky for his “Pictures at an Exhibition” suite. This strong tune really stands out and allows for big movement and a big imagination. It brings to mind a regal procession. It is perfect for getting the attention of any child.
Possible Themes: Royalty, Jungle animals, Giants, A Parade, A Big Feast
The Carnival of the Animals
Consisting of fourteen rather short compositions, “The Carnival of the Animals” is a suite created by Camille Saint-Saëns. It is meant to mimic the movements of various animals and other things in a fun way. This makes it perfect to use as ballet music for children. There is so much that can be done with them. Here are the best choices from the 14 compositions to incorporate with your kids.
March of the Lions
This song includes the introduction to the entire suite at the beginning that is very short. It then gets into the regal “March of the Lions.” It is a very commanding song that would get even the most high energy child’s attention.
Possible Themes: Royalty, Knights, Bravery, Battle
Just like the animal it’s named after, this song is a very slow and easy-going tune. It’s a chance to slow everyone down and let them do something fanciful without jumping around everywhere.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Blooming Flowers, Mermaids, Dreams
This song is slow as well as large and lumbering. It’s a very heavy song that is perfect for pretending to be bigger creatures. It’s nice and easy but still allows for big, elaborate movements that children will no doubt enjoy.
Possible Themes: Trolls, Giants, Trees, Large, Lumbering
Just like kangaroos, this song is incredibly high energy and jumpy. It goes from easy-going to quick sporadic movements. It’s a great song to use for getting out the wiggles. It’s only a minute long which makes it perfect for something quick and easy.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Sneaking Around, Mischief
It’s easy to imagine being underwater when you listen to this song. This mystical composition gives kids the opportunity to do something magical, no matter what they are pretending to be. It is a great song to use for a beautiful dance.
Possible Themes: Fairies, Mermaids, Witches, Magic, Wonder
The Cuckoo in the Depth of the Woods
The 9th movement in this fantastic suite has the energy of a lone bird dwelling in its forest home. It is a slower song that has definitive notes for children to move along to. This song would be perfect for the kids to play pretend as any sort of brave hero.
Possible Themes: Knights, Heroes, Valour, Bravery
Anything with wings goes along perfectly with this song meant to represent all kinds of birds. It is incredibly quick-paced and full of energy to get the kids going. You can have all sorts of fun with this one, and so will your children.
Possible Themes: Birds, Fairies, Wind, Flying
This composition is meant to be a funny hit at pianists, comparing them to animals. It is a hard-hitting song with heavy notes that strike out at your ears. Children will love dancing along to the dramatic tune while letting their minds run wild.
Possible Themes: Argument, Battle, Tug of War, Giants
“Fossils” uses a unique sound to incorporate the idea of bones into the song. It is exceptionally whimsical and fun. This song is a good choice for any sort of magical creature frolicking around in the woods just having a good time. It’s something any child is sure to enjoy.
Possible Themes: Dwarves, Woodland Creatures, Scurrying About, Cleaning Up
This gentle song is very soothing. It is a wonderful choice of ballet music for children to dance along to while instilling a sense of magic in them. The swan has a classical ballet feeling about it that makes it wonderful for your little dancers.
Possible Themes: Swans, Mermaids, Fairies, Ice Skating, Dreams
When it comes to younger children, nursery rhymes are some of their favorite songs. They are made specifically for children and are easily recognizable to their little ears. All you have to do is find a piano version of any nursery rhyme to be able to use it as ballet music.
A Few Nursery Rhyme Suggestions:
- Brahm’s Lullaby: 3/4 Time, Slow Tempo
- My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean: 4/4 Time, Slow Tempo
- Frere Jacque: 4/4 Time, Medium Tempo
- Oh My Darling Clementine: 6/8 Time, Fast Tempo
- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: 4/4 Time, Fast Tempo
These songs might be best for younger children such as toddlers who don’t have quite as long of an attention span. They tend to be much shorter than traditional songs, so it gets the dance done faster. You don’t have to worry as much about losing their focus halfway through.
Music from Movies
Another very recognizable type of music for kids everywhere are their favorite songs from movies, sucha s Disney classis. A lot of people are incorporating Disney music into their ballet classes for children. From Alladin to Zootopia, you’re sure to find something your kids love to move to.
It’s easy enough to find instrumental or even piano versions of any and every song from movies. There are far too many to even choose from. Virtually any song will do. Just pick the ones you love and get to dancing!
Get Your Little Ones Moving With the Perfect Music
As you can see, there are so many options for ballet music that it’s hard to list them all. No matter what story you and your kids are trying to tell, there is a song that is the perfect fit for you.
It doesn’t matter if the song you choose is made specifically for ballet. The kids certainly won’t notice the difference. What matters the most is that everyone has a lot of fun when they get up to dance.
You can put on something classical that can double as a lesson in a great composer or play a well-known song from a movie with the words taken away. Just get the kids on their feet and let their imaginations run wild as they dance their way through all the different stories they can tell.
AS PROMISED – A streamed playlist of the songs!
If you would like to hear any of the songs, click here to get to our music streaming resource page which has links to all the playlists we create and use!