The Don Quixote Ballet is one of my favorite ballets of all time. The energy and the music of this exciting ballet makes it a thrill to watch.
Don Quixote ballet is quite long – 4 Acts and 8 scenes in some cases. It was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and was first performed by the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on the 26th 1869.
Don Quixote, a valiant and eccentric old gentleman, lies ill at his castle in Barcelona, surrounded by dust-covered books, which he has been reading tales of the gallant knight-errant. He dreams of the Lady Dulcinea, heroine of one of the stories, and in his delirium, vows to save her from her persecutors.
His neighbor, Sancho Panza, pursued by two market women who have been sent to fetch him home, interrupts the Don’s delusions. Don Quixote enlists him as his squire and together they set out on their chivalrous adventures.
At the Port of Barcelona, the lovely Kitri seeks out her sweetheart, the gallant young barber, Basilio. Their happy meeting in the square is interrupted by her father, the innkeeper Lorenzo, who tries to force her into accepting the hand of Gamache, a rich nobelman. She refuses and with Basilio takes part in the festivities of the townsfolk. The joy of dancing is broken up by the arrival of the Don and Sancho Panza, who becomes the target of some horseplay by the villagers, until his master rescues him.
As Kitri dances with Basilio, Don Quixote imagines her to be Dulcinea and invites her to be his partner. Gamache is furious but reluctantly joins with the crowd in supporting the Don’s hallucination. In the confusion that follows, Kitri and Basilio run off to get married with Lorenzo and Gamache in hot pursuit. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza set out after them to right all the wrongs.
The lovers, seeking shelter in a windmill on the plain of Monteil are captured by a troupe of gypsies, who then discover they have nothing worth stealing. Instead, they seize and rob Lorenzo and Gamache, but, with the sudden appearance of the Knight and his squire, they co-operate with Kitri and Basilio in a plot to set the Don Against their pursuers.
Their plans are foiled when Don Quixote is distracted by the windmills which he takes for monsters and which he attacks with great courage, but with unfortunate results. As the gypsies laugh at his defeat, the lovers run off with Lorenzo and Gamache hot at their heels.
Lying unconscious from his wounds, Don Quixote dreams he is in a magic garden where the Queen of the Dryads brings a grateful Dulcinea to him. He declares his love for her. The dream fades, and rousing himself, he sets off once more to find his lady, with the help of Sancho Panza.
Kitri, Basilio, and their friends are celebrating their escape in a tavern when Lorenzo and Gamache, with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza not far behind, arrive. Lorenzo is determined to marry his daughter to Gamache.
In desperation Kitri and Basilio decide to try playing a last trick on Don Quixote. Basilio pretends to stab himself in jealous despair, while Kitri implores the Don for help. In his pursuit to right a wrong, the Don forces Lorenzo to bless the young lovers before they are parted forever. Indignant, Gamache challenges the Don to a duel and is defeated.
The lovers are united. As Don Quixote gives his blessing to the young pair, he sees a vision of Dulcinea still leading him on his quest. Valiantly he sets out with Sancho Panza by his side to once more perform deeds of chivalry in Dulcinea’s service.
Here is a short extract of Kitri and Basilio dancing together. You can see from this just what a vibrant ballet Don Quixote is.
Trusting we will see you all at the Don Quixote Ballet.