The Firebird: A Ballet Costume

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
The Firebird is a ballet based on Russian folklore that opened in 1910. There was a real fad for all things Russian in the early part of the 20th century. Sergei Diaghilev created the Ballet Russes in Paris in 1909 to take advantage of this obsession. While he was at it, he decided to commission a new ballet that would be very much Russian in themes. He hired Igor Stravinsky (at the time largely unknown) to compose the work.

The Firebird is a pretty short ballet (it’s only about 45 minutes) and it tells the story of a young man, Prince Ivan Tsarevich (the Russian version of Prince Charming) who captures the Firebird while she is eating a golden apple at night. She offers him a magic feather and warns him about Koshi (also spelled Koschei or Kochi) the Deathless, an evil sorcerer. In the morning, Prince Ivan spies thirteen dancing princesses and he falls in love with one of them. Like you do. So, he decides to rescue them.

Prince Ivan confronts Koshi and uses his magic feather to protect himself from Koshi’s magic. Then the Firebird is summoned, she casts a spell on Koshi and his followers causing them to dance until they collapse (this is a ballet, after all). Prince Ivan than destroys a magical egg which holds the key to the sorcerer’s immortality. Once the spells is broken, the princesses are freed and everything is happily ever after.

Listen, it’s a ballet with a magical dancing bird- no one said there needed to be a logical plot.

Koshi the Deathless, the Firebird and Ivan Tsarevich are all figures from Russian fairy-tales and folklore, but the combination of all of them is pretty much just from the ballet.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
In ballet costumes, there is tradition stacked on tradition. The Firebird, the principle dancer role in the Ballet, is strangely one where there isn’t so much tradition stacked on tradition. Perhaps because the character is a mythological beast, or perhaps because the Ballet Russes was always a bit cutting edge and innovative, the Firebird costume isn’t very standardized. You see all sorts of versions around from traditional tutus to unitards to other.

Specific Source Images: This one was a big influence on my Firebird design.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More from the Ballet and Dancing collection
Around the Internet: The Firdbird on Wikipedia and the Danish Royal Ballet preforming the Firebird on Youtube (their costuming is fantastically non-traditional)

Last Thoughts
I love and have always loved Russian fairytales. I grew up hearing them. My favorite was Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf which I made my mother read to me over and over again. She probably got so sick of that fairy tale.

I’d like to give a shout out to my Patreon supporters, because without you all, the blog wouldn’t happen.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.