La Boutique Fantasque
Enter the magical world of an enchanted toyshop and delight in the dancing dolls crafted by an amazing dollmaker in “The Fantastic Toyshop”. Get ready to enjoy an exciting morning of dance performed by members of the Mendocino Ballet under the direction of Artistic Director, Trudy McCreanor.
“La Boutique Fantasque” (The Fantastic Toyshop) was first presented at the Alhambra Theatre in London on June 5, 1919 by the internationally famous Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The ballet was originally choreographed by Leonide Massine and arranged and orchestrated by Ottorino Respighi based on piano pieces by Gioachino Rossini.
The story of the ballet has similarities to Die Puppenfee ("The Fairy Doll") of Josef Bayer, an old German ballet that had been performed by Jose Mendez in Moscow in 1897 and by Serge and Nicholas Legat in Saint Petersburg in 1903. Others note the similarities to Hans Christian Andersen's, The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
The ballet is set in southern France in the 1860’s. A world-famous toymaker has created exquisite dancing dolls in her magic toyshop. Dolls perform various dance routines for the prospective customers. At first the toys entertain an English Old Maid, then an American family. Lively dolls perform a Tarantella for the guests, followed by other dolls who dance a Mazurka. Then two dolls come in and perform another routine involving a Snob and a Melon Vendor followed by entertaining German Dolls. New customers arrive, a Russian family, and the English Old Maid leaves. Five Cossack dolls enter and perform a traditional Russian dance, followed by an animal act featuring two dancing Poodles. The American mother is offended and covers her daughter’s eyes.
Then the shopkeeper introduces her most sophisticated dancing dolls, featuring a prized pair of Can-can dancers, who perform an exciting routine. Their dance is so enchanting and spirited that the American family decides to buy the female doll, while the Russian family buys the male doll. The deals are made and paid for, the dolls are placed in a box, and collection is arranged for the next day.
Darkness descends as the shopkeeper goes home. During the night, the dolls magically come to life. The prized couple perform a wistful Pas de Deux as they do not want to be separated in the morning. Other dolls come in and join the dancing. They are upset that the two Can-can dancers are going to be split up, and a plot is hatched to hide them before the customers return in the morning.
When the shop opens the next day and the customers come in to pick up their dolls, they and the Shopkeeper, discover that the Can-can couple is no longer there. The customers, not knowing about the secret life of the dolls, blame the shop owner and attack her. In the ensuing fracas, the dolls come to the shopkeeper's rescue. Driven out of the shop, the customers watch incredulously through the window as the happy dolls and the shopkeeper dance merrily inside with the re-united Can-can couple.
Dance Classics 2018
Young students ages 6-14 will be featured in Act I of the performance performing Ballet, Tap and Modern Dance. Dancers in the upper levels of the Art of Classical Ballet Program will be featured in "Napoli", a great ballet by Auguste Bournonville, choreographer of the Royal Danish Ballet, adapted by and with original choreography by Artistic Director, Trudy McCreanor. Other dances performed by students in this program include Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Modern Dance.