Dancers of all ages take part in performing some of ballet’s most famous works. And while the dance and artistry is beautiful, the plots of these ballets are quite difficult to follow – even for some mature dancers. Recently, Rachel Rizzuto of Dance Magazine took this fact and ran with it. She had some fun with three famous ballets – condensing their complex plots into synopses we can all follow. Here are her fun synopses:
Pirate boy meets slave girl. Rich guy wants slave girl for himself. Luckily, pirate boy steals slave girl away from rich guy. But then mutinous underling pirates plot against pirate boy to deliver slave girl back to rich guy. Pirate boy disguises himself to reclaim slave girl—only to be captured by rich guy’s goons. (This back-and-forth happens a few more times.) Eventually, slave girl and pirate boy safely escape rich guy’s clutches. Post-escape, there’s a shipwreck (because, why not?), but slave girl and pirate boy miraculously live.
Nikiya, a bayadère (or temple dancer), is in love with Solor, a warrior. Unfortunately, a high priest has the hots for Nikiya; plus, Solor’s already promised to the raja’s daughter. When the raja’s daughter, sensing competition, has Nikiya killed with (surprise!) a venomous snake, the gods—displeased with the way humans, once again, have screwed everything up—end up going scorched-earth on the entire temple, killing everyone. At least Nikiya and Solor’s spirits end up happily ever after. Oh, and one entire act is an opium-induced dream.
Princess Raymonda is supposed to be marrying Jean, a gallant French knight, but he’s off at battle. A mysterious White Lady, with help from a few celestial maidens and elves, warns Raymonda in a dream that a dashing Saracen (Arab) knight is going to majorly hit on her. Sure enough, the Saracen arrives at Raymonda’s castle and flirts outrageously, hoping to sway her affection—first with folk dances, then by drugging the rest of the castle’s guests (yep) and, finally, by kidnapping her. Jean appears in the nick of time, bests the Saracen in a duel, and all’s well that ends well.
Bonus fact: who takes the cake for the most outrageous plots? The legendary choreographer of Russian ballet, Marius Petipa.