Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake: DVD for ballet-loving preschoolers

The possession of double X chromosomes often correlates with two other genetic conditions: Princess Mania and Ballet Obsession. Such has always been the case with my daughter, despite my lack of girliness.

She saw her first real live ballerina at age 2, when we happened upon a free mini-performance of the Oregon Ballet Theater. Since then, she’s been hooked.

So, I was excited to pull my daughter into service helping me review Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake. This sweet DVD treats ballet-loving preschoolers to an abridged and narrated version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, as performed by the Paris Opera Ballet. The plot of each act is interpreted by Prima Princessa, an animated fairy princess ballerina, followed by simple ballet vocabulary lessons, video of young ballet students (both boys and girls, which I appreciated), and tutu shots of cute preschoolers hopping around in the grass.

The DVD strikes a good balance between education and entertainment, and doesn’t go over-the-top precious. Prima Princessa never gets in the way of the actual ballet (in other words, I enjoyed watching it), and the breaks between acts give preschoolers the perfect opportunity to jump up and dance. Even more impressive: the DVD was produced by two New Jersey moms with no prior filmmaking experience. And (of course) my daughter loved it.

Check out the Prima Princessa site to watch a DVD clip, print out free coloring pages, or to enter the TutuZone (the founders’ blog). You can purchase the DVD at the Prima Princessa site, or from

Win it! Don your tutus and get in the running for a copy of Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake! I’ll choose one Parenthacker at random who answers the following question in the comments:

Have you ever been surprised by the extent of your kid’s "girliness" or "boyishness"?

I’ll post the winner tomorrow, 4/3, at 3pm PST. Good luck!

EDITED 4/2 7PM PST: Um, oops. I jumped the gun, closed comments at 3-ish PM TODAY, and picked a winner 24 hours early. Which is great for Piseco, but disappointing to everyone else who’s only reading this now! So, comments are open again till 3pm tomorrow (4/3) and I’ll pick a second winner! Carry on!


  1. Sonia says

    Yes! My little boy is all about cars and trucks and balls and we have done NOTHING to encourage it. I was quite surprised that he was naturally attracted to normal boy things. He also has this sweet aggression thing where he likes to box (playfully), growl, and most recently laugh after he burps (wonder where he got that from?). He’s boy, through and through.

  2. MamaChristy says

    I remember thinking when I son was jst a year old at how very “boyish” his desires were. When given a doll and a truck to play with, he went with the truck every. time.

  3. says

    yes, and no. my daughter’s first word was ‘truck’ and she got a huge semi truck toy for her 2nd Christmas. but she is SO girly, too.

    my son was always pushing the remote around the floor like a car – he was all boy from day one.

  4. michaela says

    My almost 2-year-old daughter is absolutely obsessed with caring for her Little People and stuffies; I am choosing not to see that as “girly-ness” but as a reflection of how well cared for she feels.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  5. says

    I’m not often surprised – I’m thrilled. I relish her girliness! I still do things to balance it like getting her trucks and a tool set and stuff like that to play with, but I love that she loves to be girly and look forward to exploring it with her more.

  6. Raven says

    Yes, my daughter has been girly from the start, which wasn’t too long ago since she’s only 19 mos. old. Daintily crossing her feet at the ankles, hugging and conversing with her baby doll, and dancing around like a little ballerina. But she will not keep a headband on for the life of her. Maybe she isn’t that girly after all…

  7. stmada says

    My son is quite the metrosexual. When his little sisters friend wears red slippers with the purple princess dress he tells her that she can’t wear those because they don’t match. Then he proclaims he is going to make hairbows for boys, in red of course. Thankfully, he then decided against the idea, opining that it was too silly.

  8. Jess says

    I’ve been more surprised by my daughter’s range. On the one hand, she’s very pink-and-sparkly, particularly in her wardrobe. Yesterday, she went absolutely insane with joy when I suggested that we get her some sparkly pink crocs. On the other hand, right before her fifth birthday, she kept asking to take karate. Finally, I enrolled her in a school. She loves it, is thriving, and will be testing for her yellow belt within the next month or two. I never would have thought that my little girly-girl would take to martial arts as much as she has!

  9. says

    I’ve definitely been surprised! I grew up in a gender-equality is gender-neutrality kind of household, and I knew I’d encourage any activity in my kids, regardless of whether it fit their genders. My kids have definitely shown me that they came “programmed” with strong tendencies toward the stereotypical activities for their genders!

  10. andrea says

    I’m often surprised by my daughters “girlie-ness” because she’s an odd mix of tomboy and princess.

    She likes to dress super-girly and then go climb a tree or dig in the dirt. She plays princesses but the princesses may be on an expidition to the North Pole.

  11. tulip says

    Yes! I am suprised everday at the pink pony ballerina girl that I have birthed. She sure doesn’t get it from me!! :)
    If we don’t win I’m going to be buying this one I think!

  12. Mir says

    Well, he’s only 3 months old but since he was born many people have taken one look at him and said, “he’s all boy!” I’m still trying to figure out what they mean… But my niece, who would ADORE this DVD is quite a mixture of girlyness (loves ballet and mermaids) and boyishness (rough-houses with the best of ‘em.)

  13. Adam R says

    I’m often taken aback by what seems like pre-programmed girliness in my 4-yr-old daughter. From as early as I can remember, she has wanted to dance in her dress up costumes, pretending to be a bride, a ballet princess, a princess fairy, a ballet princess fairy bride (you get the idea).

    While the rivalry (with mom and her sisters) to be the “most beautiful” has already reared its face, her romantic tendencies are constant points of amusement for her mother and I. She has already started planning her wedding and having a husband (sometimes her ‘Prince Charming’ is supposedly her 3-yr-old sister!).

  14. Jean C says

    I don’t wear makeup and dress very low-key so it really surprised me when my daughter wanted to get fake make up and jewelry.

  15. says

    My real amazement is how girly she is when I am the least girly-girl on the planet.
    Two years ago, when she was 2, she came to me and insisted on ponytails. We had never done anything to her hair before. But that day, she not only had 2 ponytails but 4 or 5 glittery clips as well. I was simply stunned!

  16. rednexmama says

    I don’t know how this happened but she is SOOOOO girlie! We’ve never encouraged it, but I make a point to just go with whatever interests her, and for the longest time it’s been sparkly, fluffy, and EVERYTHING pricess (which she hilariously refers to by the general title of “Ellas” ie. Cinderella. I dare you: tell her the mermaid’s name is Ariel not Ella!)

  17. Corey says

    Yes, the most recent was when she lined up her Disney Princess figurines (ugh) and told me the ones that weren’t wearing big poofy skirts weren’t allowed to dance. Nice.

  18. Monera Mason says

    So I am a bay area mom with heavy feminist overtones. I have two girls. With my first daughter , Isabella who is named for one of the most powerful women to walk the earth, I was determined that she would be introduced into life with no societal gender bias. No dolls, or play that introduced female nurturing roles. No pink, no princess, and really no mass media toys which featured any one on tv. When she cried I told her stories of powerful women and read from manifesto’s of strong girls. All to no avail.

    Since she did not have a doll to feed and baby, she picked any of her toys(a stuffed Leonardo da Vinci) and nurtured him. Then she had a sister and she was a little mommy, even at 14 months. We did not encourage it she just surprised us.

    It made me take a hard look at some gender politics. Maybe there is a balance between nurturing types and whatever men are. Maybe it doesn’t have to be gender specific, but if it happens to be thats okay too.

  19. says

    I have been constantly amazed by my little girl’s “girliness.” I have never been that keen on pink, purple, glitter and lace and have never had much stuff available for her that screams “girly.” Somehow, now that she’s older and forming her very own (very strong 2 y/o) opinions, she’s drawn to glitter, pink, purple, and anything “frou-frou” like a moth is drawn to a flame. Sigh. It’s actually cute and fun and we have more pink things than I ever dreamed we’d have. We’ll just wait to see where she goes with it as she grows. At least she also likes trucks and bugs and frogs, etc. :-)

  20. jennifer says

    my 4yr old is very girly and i’m suprised by her ‘boyisness’- she loves t owear camo like daddy!

  21. Nichole says

    My 3-year old really surprises me. She is all about all things girly, but she loves playing with cars. It is really cute to see her dressed as Cinderella with high heels and a tiara squatting on the floor playing with cars.

  22. mama2etc says

    I love the crazy mix that my 4yo daughter is, as the baby sister of two athletic brothers. Last Saturday at her instructional hockey class I watched her skate around like a demon in her pink jersey and sparkly cat sticker-covered helmet, with pink laces in her skates. She came to a precise hickey stop in front of a little boy who had fallen down, picked him up, and mothered him all the way back to the coach.

    But her very-best-baby-doll Spiderman is the ultimate!

  23. Whitney H. says

    I have two girls- 1 1/2 and 4- and I am amazed at how different they are from each other while still both being incredibly girly. I was raised with 4 brothers and am definitely not the girly girl type so I really didn’t expect it when my first daughter got caught up in babies and ballet and barbies…and boys! Now my second is a little more adventurous and wild, but give her a baby doll and she has to tend to it like a little mama hen. How funny!

  24. Vivian says

    My 3-year old son is as into girly stuff as boyish things. He likes to wear my hair accessories and put on lipstick and tie a scarf around his waist and call it a dress and twirl around like a ballerina, and is very sweet with his stuffed animals, but at the same time, he likes to roughhouse and play with balls and his toolbox and cars.

    But then again, my husband enjoys modern ballet and opera, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  25. Megan says

    I hadn’t thought much about my daughter’s girliness until her first Christmas, when she received her first baby doll (she had many stuffed animals already, but no actual dolls). It was like some primal instinct took her over – she could not (and still can’t, two years later) be separated from that doll, and had no interest in any other presents she received. It made me realize that “girliness” can be as much nature as it is nurture.

  26. May says

    My daughter likes to come up with, um, interesting combinations of outfits. She had a rather memorable one on and I asked her if she thought it went together. She pointed out that the shirt had flowers (true) and that the dress also had flowers (also true). I asked about the striped tights and she just looked at me. “Those are sparkily. Sparkily goes with everything.”

  27. JCApple says

    My little princess-looking girl is a huge tom-boy. She has this gorgeous blond hair with perfect curls at the end. People actually ask if I curl it – like I have that kind of free time and think it would be a good idea to wave a hot wand around her busy little head. She loves her crocodile sneakers, her cars, dinosaurs, cars and trucks. I got her a great princess jammy dress – cause I loved it and couldn’t resist. She won’t wear it. She has to wear her Buzz Light Year or Mickey Mouse pajamas. She walks right by baby dolls and doesn’t say a word. Our friends ask how we accomplished not having her be a princess junky – for the most part, we just let her be herself. We now have another girl. I’m interested to see how she’ll be.

  28. says

    I volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class, and inevitably when I’m working on a craft project with them, the boys will always choose red or blue over pink. And if pink or purple is an option, the girls will always pick that over the other colors.

    In my own home, I was surprised after having two girls, to watch my baby son’s immediate fascination with anything that rolls (cars, balls, etc.).

  29. Steph says

    My 2 year old daugther surprises me daily. She wants to be a pirate and walks around saying “Argh!” and carries a treasure map. On the flip side she loves to sing and dance so I get the full spectrum.

  30. Cindi says

    Not really! I have two sons and no daughter so I can’t make a comparison between boys and girls. Thus far, my boys have been boys, but I don’t let that “euphemism” let them get away with “Oh well, boys will be boys” stuff! Please enter me
    in your drawing because I do have a niece who thinks she is a “Princess Ballerina!” Thanks,Cindi

  31. says

    Yes- my daughter will buy as many pink things as she can find. She’s even told me before “I just don’t have enough pink toys.”

    I personally could do without the color pink altogether.

  32. Bethany says

    Every time my 3 year old makes a wish (i.e. wishing wells, birthday candles – hers and everyone else’s, stars) she says, “I wish I wish I could be a ballerina”. What makes me laugh the most is the feminine spin she puts on gender-neutral activities. She isn’t a ‘animal doctor’ – she is “Fashion Show Animal Doctor” complete with tiara and feather boa. She isn’t a rodeo rider, she’s a ballerina princess rodeo rider. Every activity requires fashion accessories – to help me cook dinner, she needs necklaces, jewel tiara, and “clacky shoes”. I laugh every day at my girly-girl.

  33. Adrienne Gordon says

    My daughter is a dichotomy, she loves girlie stuff…princesse, dressing up, etc. Yet, she loves playing boy games with my older son and his friends.

  34. says

    It all began with a pair of red strappy wedges. Shelby was obsessed with walking in my high heels. Her first trip to the shoe department at Nordstrom, mommy got an education about what a true shoe connosieur is all about. I watched in awe as my two year old inspected, tried on and sashayed around the floor to the delight of her doting sales staff. One particularly fashionable woman turned to me as Shelby continued her show and whispered, “You know, she has excellent taste. Patent leather is all the rage this summer!” Was this for real? It was like I was front and center at the latest Charles David Trunk Show and my toddler was Top Model! She paints her nails and daddy’s, when he lets her. She carries her “Li-stick” in the front pack of her tricycle and periodically stops along our walks to lavishly apply and reapply shades of vibrant pink and shimmery gloss. She is known to carry a different purse for every occasion and changes her outfit by the mood or the hour, whichever comes first. Did you ask if I was surprised by her girlish ways? Merely flabergasted. You Go Girl.

  35. Katie A. says

    I actually want this for my son. He is four years old and his favorite activity is his dance class. He is the only boy and is surrounded by girls in pink tutus. He LOVES it. He plays dress up with the best of them and tells his sister her clothes don’t match. His 2 1/2 year old sister on the other hand has told me she wants to take karate and couldn’t keep her clothes clean if her life depended on it. It amazes me how different they are. They were both born with their own personalities and the only thing I can do is help them smooth out the rough edges. But I love that they are at an age where they do what they want without worrying what others will think about it. I imagine that will change as they get older.

  36. Holly says

    My oldest is a 3.5yo girl and very girly. My second is a 2yo boy and very not-boyish! He chose Princess plates over Spiderman for his b-day, and enjoys the princess sing-along dvds. But he also loves trains, so it’s not a lost cause. But I actually don’t mind that he likes girl things. He will be a big boy all too quickly.

    I have a theory though that the extent of boyish or girly play depends on siblings and age order. A boy first, there will be more cars and trucks, etc. A girl first, pink and princess and dolls will abound. I’ve seen it with my nieces and nephews. :)

  37. says

    My girls are very girly. They are really into ballerina, princesses, all girly stuff. But I was surprized by how boyish they can be. They just love cars, super heros and construction stuff.

  38. Sara says

    My daughter definitely loves almost all of the spectrum…from trucks, tools, and rocks to “fancy” (we are still trying to avoid the princess stuff as much as possible) stuff, dolls, dancing in twirly skirts, and dress up. The most girly thing, though, that surprised me, is her newfound declaration that she “only likes pink and purple!”

    She just turned 3, and I’ve been thinking of enrolling her in a dance class to see how if she really likes it, and this DVD has been on wish list for months. I’d love to win it!

  39. divrchk says

    My daughter (3 yo) takes ballet and would love this dvd. She is so much girlier than I ever thought that she would be. She is number 2 and my first is a boy so there weren’t many girl toys around for her at the beginning. She’s definitely become obsessed with all things princess.

  40. Leigh Nichols says

    No, not really- neither of my kids have gone to excessiveness on girly/boyish things- yet…

  41. Lindsay says

    My daughter is only 10.5 months old but her most favorite “toys” are her shoes and my magazines. Perhaps we have a mini-fashionista on our hands already!

  42. kiyana says

    My daughter is the only girl and has always been a tomboy! All the neighbors are boys too so she doesn’t have any little girls her age to play with. She just hangs out with the boys and digs in the backyard or watches sports with the boys!

  43. says

    My daughter likes to work with daddy’s tools and dig in the dirt but she coos at baby dolls and likes to twirl a fancy dress. Before having kids, I honestly thought you could influence more of their personalities than you really can. It just comes out. Gender stereotypes are actually based on reality. Who knew? My 8 month old boy is totally different than his sister. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t like her Barbie movies. But by the time he’s her age (4) he will probably not be so keen on the pinkness.

  44. bina edwards says

    my daughter isnt girly girl at all, she loves to wear her brothers hand me down fatigue pants!!!

  45. Chakolate says

    I often make up stories for my grandson and granddaughter, and whenever I have a dragon that needs slaying, Sir Tristan and Sir Sophie come to the rescue. The real-life Sophie refused point-blank to be ‘Lady Sophie’, recognizing even at the tender age of four that the knights have all the fun, while the ladies just get to sit around and look pretty.

  46. Sandy says

    I have boy/girl twins, and they are such a boy and such a girl! He loves cars, trucks, anything with wheels. She likes purple & pink and dolls and stuffed animals. We try to keep a balance of “boy” toys and “girl” toys, and they each play with the toys differently. It’s so interesting to watch!

  47. Joyce Pawlik says

    My grand-daughter is too curious about the world and how things work to be concerned about gender. She does, however enjoy dressing up and being the center of attention! I had the library order this DVD — the Tchikovsky msde her dance up a strom but no step was in step with the dancers on the DVD@

  48. says

    My husband, despite his absolute and unending love for the NFL, isn’t really the most manly of men, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our 2-year-old boy turned out similarly. He already loves butterflies, rainbows and Dora. But then again, he also loves all things sports and cars, and he’s entered that fun headbutting stage. I think what would most surprise me is if he turned out to be athletically inclined at all!

  49. Donna Hunt says

    Yes! My son has almost always opted for trucks, cars and other “boy” toys. We didn’t really encourage or discourage this and would allow him to play with whatever he wanted. Even when he got older and began to play house with some girls in school, he always chose to play “daddy.” Thank you for the contest!

  50. momo3 says

    Yes! Yes! Yes! My middle son is all boy. He clearly prefers all things boy and not pink. He really enjoys a good rock tune by a MALE artist. As do his 4 make believe children, all boys by the way.

  51. Janet says

    My son is all grown up and was all boy and now he is raising 4 boys . The 4 yr old likes dora and shows like that . He makes sure baby brother doesn’t have any pink stuff .He got upset because baby brother had a baby magic bottle in his diaper bag. It should of been blue for a boy he said. !ty 4 the great contest!

  52. Elizabeth M. says

    I’ve been completely surprised with how my daughter’s done an about face on girlishness. She started out wanting all things princessy and sparkly and long floppy hair was her goal. Now she doesn’t like anything frilly or fancy.

  53. Susan Chester says

    When my children were born, I was determined not to put them in gender “roles”. But my sons preferred toy cars, guns, baseball cards and video games. My daughter loved dolls and dress-up.

  54. Kate W says

    I have two boys–the older (4 yrs old) doesn’t fit neatly into a traditional gender stereotype, but the younger (22 months) is all boy. This doesn’t exactly answer your question but the older is currently taking ballet at school, and I have been surprised and delighted at how much he loves it. Each week he comes home and tells me all about the latest move he learned (as filtered through his r-year-old understanding, like when he learned that “relabay” means to put your arms up and tip your head backwards).

    He’s the only boy in his ballet class, and his teacher says that if all her students were as enthusiastic as he is, she would teach for free.

  55. Trish says

    My 3yo is definitely obsessed with Princesses. Dolls, books, movies, dresses. I never encouraged it, but I do usually give in. But she’s no delicate flower. She loves baseball (even though she throws like a girl), her best friend is a boy, and she often gets in trouble at school for hitting the other kids (she’s almost the only girl in her class).

  56. Danielle says

    I was very surprised at how my daughter. She love pink and gets in make up. I was always a t shirt and jean kind of girl. never in to make up or even dolls much & neither is my hubby. so she didn’t get it from him I think. Though he is the only one in the house that can braid hair so she has to go to him for that. she is quite the dancer also we as I would not be caught dancing. she can always be found in front of the stereos at Wal-Mart. Dancing away and loves the classical music. quite funny to see the looks on people faces in Wal-Mart. most of them know her in our small town. Wal-Mart is one of the only big stores we have here. She always seems to brighten every ones day!

  57. erika says

    I see I’m not in the minority here – many non-girly moms with little pink princess daughters! I was determined from birth to raise a “strong” girl whose self-esteem stems from what she can do rather than what she looks like. We have never had any princess dolls/clothes/movies, etc, and yet somehow, at not quite 3 yo, she has developed a love for the Disney Princesses. She even has a favorite, yet has never seen a single one of the movies!! For Halloween, knowing how much she loves to dress up girlie, I compromised and dressed her as a fairy (basically a princess with wings, but somehow more palatable to me). Now she loves to wear that costume all the time. She also likes to pull her shirt most of the way off at bedtime and walk around regally telling us all about her “princess crown.” It’s amazing how pervasive marketing can be!

  58. says

    Four years ago, I thought I had it all figured out. My daughter would play with trucks, my son would play with dolls, my house would be a gender-conflict free home.

    Then, I had a baby. My daughter, Zoe, and I have a deal – every *other* day is dress day. During the winter, we layer tights and long sleeves so she, “Is actually a princess and not looking like a dude.” Her words, not mine. When I tell her she can’t wear make-up yet (which I never wear), she says, “Well, I guess I just can’t be fancy today…(sigh!).” Her life goal is to dress like Fancy Nancy while she works as a ballerina and a part-time sushi chef.

    My son, Robert, is 2 1/2. He is fascinated with trains, trucks, cars, dinosaurs, airplanes, you name it. For Hannukah, I got him a male Groovy Girl doll. He looked at it, looked at me, and said, “Um, Zoe’s dolly? Here, Zoe.”

    I have no idea – but I”m starting to figure out that some of this stuff is hard-wired. It’s delightful, however it comes about.

  59. Sharon Jones says

    Have you ever been surprised by the extent of your kid’s “girliness” or “boyishness”?

    LOL…yes…is and always has been a ‘girly girl’ (HER quote for herself as well as ours)

  60. Kirsten says

    My youngest is the complete opposite of her older sister. I keep expecting her to express some part of her feminine side but she just won’t. Sports, black clothes and NO PINK are her mottos. Her older sister? As feminine as you get.

  61. sarah woods says

    Love the Prima Princess for twin five year old grandchildren. Best of luck to all who enter the contest

  62. Amie says

    Absolutely. Given a choice between a pink shirt and a blue one, my 15-month old daughter picks the pink one every time. She also is fussy about being clean (even when she’s sick and vomiting she manages to get it eveywhere but on herself) and my 3-year old son could not care less. In fact he searches out the messiest opportunity in the room and goes for it.

    I do think it’s interesting that I associate these traits as “girly” or “boyish” even after a BA in sociology and years of trying to push the boundaries of my brain. Really, pink looks just as good on boys. And making messes is a fun part of childhood-driving your mother insane with the constant cleaning up is a rite of passage.

  63. Kristine says

    I’ve got an older daughter, but I’ve been really impressed at how my little guy (2 years younger) gravitates towards all things with wheels and boy-like, even before we had all those things. I mean, he still likes to wear necklaces and bows when my DD is getting dressed, but he’s definitely all boy!

  64. Candis Hansen says

    yes, I was suprised when my son told me at 3 that he couldn’t play with power rangers because they are dolls.

  65. Michelle L. says

    Even though we don’t condone the use of weapons, and have NEVER bought any type of weapon-type toys for our sons, it always amazes me how they can turn the simplest objects–sticks, pencils, rulers–into homemade guns and slingshots!

    On the flipside, my daughter is the epitome of girliness. . . every outfit must contain either pink or purple!

  66. Lisa Fosses says

    My daughter like the to be girly and play dress-up and boyish and help my husband fix things

  67. Monique Rizzo says

    No, My daughter is just a super girly girl. She is always coming downstairs in crowns, jewelry,heels,dresses-you name it!

  68. Jennifer says

    My daughter is super, super girly. She will NOT WEAR PANTS unless she has a skirt over them. She wants to pretend to put on makeup every time we leave the house–even though I don’t wear it.

  69. Susanne Troop says

    My daughter surprises me all the time…one time she is all girlie wants dolls, pink clothes, take dance lessons, etc. Next time is wants car, boy t-shirts, play basketball, etc.

  70. Paula Hafner says

    My son is only 1 and I have been suprised at the difference between him and my daughters. He’s drawn to balls, trucks, dogs and messes. He loves to wrestle and play “rough”.

  71. Marissa says

    I’m not at all surprised by my little girl’s girly side… she takes after me way too much! She’s all about tutu’s and play high heels, which makes for some fun tea parties! :)

  72. Susan Ledet says

    My great niece is the little princess in everything that she does. I believe that she feels that she may have been born into royalty. It would surprise me if she didn’t act like a princess. She’s quite the little lady.