Don Quixote is an originally four acts ballet, built on episodes taken from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and first presented by the Bolschoi Theater in Moscow on Dec. 26, 1869. Today’s version is a three act ballet.
The ballet starts with Don Quixote’s study. He delights in stories of brave knights, fabulous giants and other fantastical creatures, but softly he is caught in dreaming about his beloved Dulcinea, a woman that he believes to be so lovely and noble that she must be divinity.
Suddenly his servant, Sancho Panza comes into the room calling for supper. Don Q tells Sancho that he is determined to seek adventure as a knight and search for his beloved Dulcinea. They get prepared and head into the world.
A market place in Barcelona is filled with merchants of all kind. Kitri, an inn-keeper’s daughter runs out of her house to meet her boyfriend, the barber Basilio. Lorenzo, Kitri’s father sees the lovers and sends Basilio away, bringing Kitri to tears. By the plaza has his villa a rich nobleman Gamache, also infatuated with Kitri’s beauty. He asks Lorenzo for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The innkeeper accepts with delight but Kitri, appalled at the thought of wedding the foppish nobleman, runs away.
Dancing begins in the square where a seguidilla dance and the appearance of Espada, a famous toreador, accompanied by street dancers and his love interest Mercedes are enchanting those present in the plaza. Don Quixote arrives at the scene with Sancho sounding his horn, making sure that everyone is aware of their presence. As soon as Don Q sees Kitri, he believes to have found the love of his dreams, Dulcinea. Kitri plays his game and dances a minuet with him.
At the end, Basilio makes sure he takes Kitri away and together run into the country. Gamache, Lorenzo, Don Q will follow in pursuit of finding them.
A gypsy establishment. Kitri and Basilio arrive and being friends with the gypsies are given shelter and a hiding place from an angry Lorenzo and Gamache whom is set on marring Kitri. They find Kitri, but Basilio will fake his death in hopes Lorenzo will grant them marriage. They succeed and so Lorenzo, nudged by Don Q feels forced to approve.
Wind starts picking up in the valley. In Don Q’s mind everything starts to unravel. He starts hallucinating seeing dragons and monsters where there were only windmills. He gets badly hurt and falls into a deep sleep.
A dream unravels where dryads, cupids and his beloved Dulcinea appear. They all put on a beautiful dancing display. He wakes up from his dream and wants to continue searching for Dulcinea.
Kitri and Basilio’s wedding starts up with invited guests. Espada, Mercedes and the street dancers put on a show, dancing a Fandango. Everyone performs at their wedding but the married couple has the last dance, and goes on to live happily ever after.