The adventures of Alonso Quixano as Don Quixote de la Mancha is now in Dubai courtesy of Bulgaria's Sofia Ballet. Starting April 17, the story of a middle-aged man from central Spain, whose obsession with tales of chivalry and knights errant sees him pursuing his own worldly adventures - complete with armour and horse - to enforce chivalric code and save the woman of his dreams, will be brought to life at Madinat Theatre.
A knightly adventure
First published in 1605, the novel by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra encompasses universal values such as love, friendship and honesty, says Yordan Krastev, the producer, choreographer and star of Don Quixote.
He is one of the 32 dancers coming to Dubai.
"Don Quixote is a dreamer who believes in everything beautiful and valuable in life. A man of honour from all kinds of view. Everybody who has a sense of honour and wants to be a dreamer will identify with him," says the 41-year-old Krastev. "We are very excited to perform in Dubai, the public is very warm and open and we've had marvellous experiences always when we performed there."
A faithful story
The ballet was first performed in Russia in 1869, when it was choreographed by Marius Petipa with music by Ludwig Minkus.
"In Don Quixote, what fascinated me about the story is [the theme of] not losing faith; one of the most important things in life. The story is really one of the most famous literary works," says Krastev.
When describing the most important message in the piece, he points to a memorable quote within the story itself: "Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has given to man."
Krastev has taken on the role of Don Quixote numerous times before because it allows him the opportunity to express himself both through choreography and the character itself.
"The variety of different characteristics: the madness, his belief in dreams, protecting the weak," he says, while noting how challenging it is to portray him. "It's not easy at all to express who Don Quixote is only with the body. I leave the public to judge if I've done it well."
A variety of movements
The ballet is divided into five main scenes. The first is set in the square in Barcelona - expressed through characteristics of Spanish dances with specific positioning of the hands and rapid movements. The players then move onto a gypsy scene before the story enters a sequence where "fairy-like" female dancers interpret the dream of Don Quixote. The finale is a grand, technically varied wedding scene.