Ballet

Classic Ballets

Because many ballets take their stories from folklore, they can feel like fairy tales told through dance. Here are some favorites. The date the ballet was first performed is in parentheses.

  • Coppélia (1870)

    A doll is so exquisitely beautiful and lifelike that she wins the heart of a village boy. Saint-Léon choreographed Coppélia and Léo Delibes wrote the music.

  • Giselle (1841)

    A young girl spends her days dancing and gathering flowers until love brings tragedy. Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot choreographed Giselle and Adolphe Adam wrote the music.

  • The Nutcracker (1892)

    A nutcracker doll Clara receives for Christmas leads the way into an enchanted world. Lev Ivanov choreographed The Nutcracker and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music.

  • Ondine (1958)

    A curious young water nymph pays an unforgettable visit to the land of mortals. Frederick Ashton choreographed Ondine and Hans W. Henze composed the music.

  • The Sleeping Beauty (1890)

    One fairy's curse and another fairy's gift mark the destiny of a young princess. Marius Petipa choreographed The Sleeping Beauty and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music.

  • Swan Lake (1877)

    Under a magic spell, the swan Odette becomes a human each night-and falls in love. Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa choreographed Swan Lake and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music.

Female Characters In Famous Ballets

Because many ballets take their stories from folklore, they can feel like fairy tales told through dance. Here are the heroines of some magical favorites.

  • Clara in The Nutcracker

    A nutcracker doll Clara receives for Christmas leads the way into an enchanted world.

  • Coppelia in Coppelia

    A doll is so exquisitely beautiful and lifelike that she wins the heart of a village boy.

  • Giselle in Giselle

    A young girl spends her days dancing and gathering flowers until love brings tragedy.

  • Odette in Swan Lake

    Under a magic spell, the swan Odette becomes a human each night-and falls in love.

  • Ondine in Ondine

    A curious young water-nymph pays an unforgettable visit to the land of mortals.

  • Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty

    One fairy's curse and another fairy's gift mark the destiny of a young princess.


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