All About Don Quixote

Welcome to today’s All About the Ballet post.  You can check out my last All About the Ballet post, that time regarding Swan Lake, by clicking HERE.

Today’s ballet is Don Quixote.  It’s a very famous and comical one, with great music and athletic roles for both women and men.  It’s a very exciting and thoroughly entertaining ballet, despite its very complicated plot.  This post is here to help you navigate through the plot, as well as provide a reference for you to navigate the scenes and variations accurately.  I hope you enjoy, and let’s get right to it:


Based on the Mariinsky Ballet 2006 version


Setting: Barcelona


  • Kitri
  • Basilio
  • Don Quixote
  • Sancho Panza
  • Toredor & girl
  • Streetdancer
  • Gamache
  • Lorenzo
  • Kitri’s friends


Prologue (in Don Quixote’s study)

  • Pas d’action

Act I (in front of Lorenzo’s inn in Barcelona)

  • Scene: The corps dances
  • Variation: Kitri
  • Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio
  • Pas d’action: Kitri’s father refuses for Kitri & Basilio to marry
  • Pas d’acton: Gamache enters and asks to marry Kitri, Kitri refuses
  • Scene: Streetdancer and corps dances
  • Scene: Dance of the toredors
    • Scene: Corps dance
    • Variation: Toredor girl
    • Coda
  • Entrance: Don Quixote & Sancho Panza
  • Scene: Girls dance with Sancho Panza
  • Scene: Dance of Kitri’s friends
  • Entrance: Kitri & Basilio
  • Pas de deux: Kitri & Basilio
    • Adagio
    • Male variation
    • Female variation
    • Coda

Act II

  • Pas d’acton: Kitri and Basilio enter, followed by gypsies
  • Scene: Dance of the gypsies
  • Entrance: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
  • Scene: The gypsy play
  • Pas d’action: The windmill
  • The Dryads
    • Scene: Dryads dance
    • Pas de quatre
      • Adagio: Dulcinea, Don Quixote, and Cupid dance
      • Variation: Queen of the dryads
      • Variation: Cupid
      • Variation: Dulcinea
      • Coda
  • Pas d’action: Wake up, chase continues


Scene 1

  • Entrances
    • Kitri’s friends
    • Toredor
    • Kitri and Basilio
    • Coda
  • Scene: Guests dance
  • Entrance: Mercedes
  • Pas de deux: Toredor
  • Entrance: Lorenzo and Gamache enter & try to marry Kitri
  • Pas d’action: Basilio “dies,” wish granted, comes back to life
  • Scene: Guests dance

Scene 2

  • Scene: Wedding guests dance
  • Pas de deux
  • Scene: Dance of wedding guests
  • Scene: Kitri’s friends dance
  • Pas de deux: Kitri & Basilio
    • Adagio
    • Friend variation #1
    • Male variation
    • Female variation
    • Coda



Don Quixote has been reading some myths and stories about knights and chivalry.  In search of adventure, he sets out to “defend virtue and and punish those who violate the code of honour.”  He takes his servant, Sancho Panza along with him.

Act 1:

A young girl named Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, owns an inn on the coast of Barcelona.  When act 1 opens, we are outside said in.  It begins with a dance of the corps de ballet, followed by a solo of young Kitri.  Basilio, a poor man appears.  Basilio seems appealing to Kitri.  They dance together.  Lorenzo appears, and when he sees Kitri and Basilio dancing together, he is furious.  When they plead to be married, Kitri’s father refuses and separates the two.  Next, a rich nobleman, Gamache, appears, who asks to take young Kitri’s hand.  Lorenzo believes it to be a good idea – afterall, he is a rich nobleman who would add honour to the family.  Kitri is disgusted, and refuses.

A street dancer appears and performs.  Another young woman awaits the arrival of a toredor.  When the toredor appears, he dances with the other toredors he has brought with him.  This is followed by a solo of the girl, finishing off with a coda of all of the toredors dancing with her.

Next, Don Quixote enters on his horse, holding his spear and shield.  When the girls outside the inn discover Sancho Panza, they play around with him, blindfolding him and throwing him around.  This is followed by the dance of Kitri’s friends.  During the dance, Kitri and Basilio enter, Kitri now dressed in her classic red skirt.  They dance briefly.  It is followed by a pas de deux between Kitri and Basilio in conclusion of the act.

Act 2:

Kitri and Basilio are fleeing from Gamache and Lorenzo when they come across a gypsy camp.  The gypsies perform a dance for Kitri and Basilio.  Don Quixote enters the camp.  When the gypsies perform a play, Don Quixote takes it as a real-life thing and starts to attack the gypsies.  The gypsies flee.  Afterwards, Don Quixote sees a windmill and gets tangled up in it, being thrown to the ground.  After the gypsies leave, Kitri and Basilio help Don Quixote fall asleep.

In Don Quixote’s dreams, he is in the Kingdom of the Dryads, where he is greeted by the Queen of the Dryads, a Cupid, and Kitri as Dulcinea.  They perform various dances before Don Quixote wakes up.

Kitri and Basilio wake up just in time to flee from Gamache and Lorenzo, but Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are still there.  Don Quixote attempts to mislead Gamache and Lorenzo, but Sancho Panza, oblivious, corrects Don Quixote, and the chase continues.

Act 3:

At a party at an inn, Kitri and Basilio arrive with a celebration.  When an innkeeper notifies Kitri that her father and Gamache are on their way, Kitri and Basilio attempt to flee, but not in time.  Lorenzo sees Kitri and attempts to marry her with Gamache, much to Kitri’s disarray.

Basilio, desperate, pulls a good trick of pretending to stab himself.  This gives Lorenzo a pain of grief and regret, and he marries the two as Basilio’s dying wish.  Just when he does, Basilio bursts up and dances with Kitri, much to Lorenzo and Gamache’s dismay.

It is now Basilio and Kitri’s wedding.  They celebrate with dances from the guests, concluding with the pas de deux of Kitri and Basilio to conclude the famous ballet.

Thanks for reading or referring to today’s all about the ballet post.  I look forward to making more in the future.  Expect blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday here.

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2 thoughts on “All About Don Quixote

  1. A few days ago I was thinking about Don Quixote! Maybe because I’m reading *The Return of Merlin* in the same genre.

    I like the way you summarized the plot. Aunt Mary and I saw the play many years ago at MSU, but it was not a ballet. I remember being real confused by what was going on!

    What got you thinking about Don Q? Are you going to perform it at GRB?

    On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 2:01 AM, Goulet Ballet wrote:

    > Ella Marie Goulet posted: “Welcome to today’s All About the Ballet post. > You can check out my last All About the Ballet post, that time regarding > Swan Lake, by clicking HERE. Today’s ballet is Don Quixote. It’s a very > famous and comical one, with great music and athletic roles f” >

    1. Yeah! I’ve always loved the ballet. I actually did this post to learn a bit more about it myself. I had a friend at the ballet ask me the other day a bit about its structure, and I realized I didn’t know! It’s always nice to review and analyze a ballet in a bit more detail. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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