Plot Synopsis – Charlottesville Ballet

Once upon a time, there was a handsome Prince named Ivan. One day Prince Ivan goes hunting in an Enchanted Forest. Out of nowhere appears the Firebird, a magical bird who resembles a beautiful woman. He captures her and they dance a pas de deux (a “dance for two”) while the Firebird begs for her freedom. In exchange for releasing her, the Firebird gives Ivan one of her magical feathers that he may use to call her whenever he is in great danger.

The Firebird disappears leaving Ivan alone in the Forest…or so he thinks! A beautiful Princess appears and Ivan falls in love with her at first sight. Ivan hides so she cannot see him, and he watches the Princess and her friends dance with Magic Golden Apples. Suddenly, the Princesses see Ivan and are afraid. Princess Katerina, the loveliest of all the Princesses, steps forward and Ivan gives her an apple. Katerina and Ivan dance together as the other Princesses look on.

Ivan then learns that the Princesses were being held captive by the Evil Kotschei, a lonely sorcerer who keeps them trapped in his Enchanted Forest. Ivan is captured by Kotschei’s Minions of the Land and Sky and Kotschei holds Ivan prisoner. The Monsters, Minions, and Forest Maidens come together in an Infernal Dance of madness.

Prince Ivan calls upon the Firebird with his magic feather to help save Katerina and the Princesses. The Firebird appears in all her splendor and bewitches the monsters, making everyone dance until they fall down in a calm sleep. While everyone sleeps, the Baby Birds bring Ivan and the Firebird the egg that holds Kotschei’s spirit of goodwill. Ivan cracks the egg releasing Kotschei’s spirit.

The Evil Kotschei is vanquished and Ivan and Katerina are overjoyed to be together. They are married in a glorious ceremony where the Princesses celebrate their newfound freedom. The Firebird watches over the Kingdom as Prince Ivan and Princess Katerina rule over their happy subjects for the rest of their lives…and they all live happily ever after!


The Ballet was originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, set to music by Igor Stravinsky, and premiered in 1910 by the famous Ballet Russes. Even today, companies around the world still perform versions of the original choreography!  The ballet is full of magic and romance, and tells the story of the handsome Prince Ivan, his beautiful Princess Katerina, and the magical Firebird that saves them.