‘The Red Shoes’ is a contemporary ballet about vanity

The Red Shoes is a:

  • Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale (1845)
  • Academy Award-winning film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (1948)
  • Ballet by Matthew Bourne (2016)

The Red Shoes Fairy Tale

Karen is a poor peasant orphan who is adopted and raised by a rich lady. Karen has her new mother buy her a pair of red shoes fit for a princess.

Against her mother’s advice, Karen wears the shoes to church. There a mysterious old man with a red beard puts a spell in the shoes. The shoes start dancing with Karen in them and she has trouble taking them off.

One day Karen wears the shoes to a ball in town. Once she starts dancing, the shoes won’t come off. They dance and dance and dance.

An angel tells Karen that she is doomed to dance forever as a warning about vanity.

Karen gets an executioner to chop off her feet, but the shoes with her amputated feet in them keep on dancing.

Karen tries to go to church, but the shoes block her.

At home Karen prays for help. The angel reappears. Karen’s heart is filled with joy until it bursts and she flies off to heaven where no one cares about red shoes.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a dancer, this story will make you laugh because ballerinas never want to stop dancing.

The Red Shoes Movie

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger adapted the fairy tale into a movie about a young ballerina in the south of France who joins a major ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a ballet called, The Red Shoes.

The movie stars Moira Shearer and ballet dancers Ludmilla Tchérina, Robert Helpmann, and Léonide Massine.

At the 21st Academy Awards, The Red Shoes was nominated for “Best Picture,” “Best Original Screenplay,” and “Best Film Editing.” It won Oscars for “Best Original Score,” and “Best Art Direction.”

The Red Shoes Ballet

The Red Shoes ballet was choreographed by English choreographer Matthew Bourne. His New Adventures company premiered it at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London in 2016.

The ballet is a little different from the fairy tale.

A young woman buys a pair of red shoes from a shoemaker. She puts them on and starts dancing with her boyfriend. She gets carried away dancing with man after man at a carnival.

She tries to go home, but the red shoes keep dancing. She hallucinates.

Almost dead from exhaustion, a priest helps her remove the shoes and she dies. The shoemaker comes back to pick up the red shoes for his next victim.

The Red Shoes in New York City

The Red Shoes is on the New York City Center Mainstage in Midtown, Manhattan from Thursday, October 26 – Sunday, November 5, 2017.

American Ballet Theatre Principal Marcelo Gomes (Brazilian) dances Julian Craster.

  • Friday, October 27, 2017 at 8 pm
  • Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 2 pm
  • Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 2pm

The Red Shoes Tickets

New York City Center Box Office

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