North American Premiere

Don Quixote
Carlos Acosta

June 1 – 9, 2024

North American Premiere

Don Quixote
Carlos Acosta

June 1 – 9, 2024
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Follow the eccentric Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza on a quest for love in the North American premiere of Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote, created for The Royal Ballet and remounted for Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2022. Cuban-born Carlos Acosta was one of the great male dancers of his era and Basilio, the young lover from Don Quixote, was a signature role. Don Quixote is a comic romance in the sunny landscape of Spain, set to a musical arrangement of Ludwig Minkus’ score by Hans Vercauteren, featuring original music for guitar.

Don Quixote Trailer

The Story

Based on the epic 17th-century novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote tells the story of a creative old knight who, inspired by a vision, convinces his sidekick Sancho Panza to join him in pursuit of the idealized Dulcinea. Their adventures lead them to Kitri, the daughter of an innkeeper, who is avoiding marriage to the wealthy Gamache in favour of her true love, Basilio, the barber. Ever the romantic, Don Quixote helps to save Kitri from marrying without love.

Read Full Synopsis

Five Things to Know
  1. 1Marius Petipa created Don Quixote in 1869 but much of his original choreography is lost. Alexander Gorsky’s revival of 1900 is the model for most productions today.
  2. 2By definition, the word “quixotic” suggests extreme impracticality in the pursuit of ideals. The source is Cervantes’ character Don Quixote, who is noble in his chivalry but also hopelessly unrealistic.
  3. 3The calling card of Don Quixote is the fabulous dancing and incredible score, which packs the ballet from start to finish. This includes the famous pas de deux for Kitri and Basilio in Act III and the sublime work of the Corps de Ballet as Dryads or wood nymphs in the dream sequence of Act II.
  4. 4Carlos Acosta won the prestigious Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne in 1990 for his performance of Basilio in Act III of Don Quixote. He went on to become one of the finest male dancers in the world.
  5. 5Acosta’s staging is a joyful homage to Spain with fabulous dancing, an incredible score, colourful sets and costumes by Tim Hatley, lighting by Peter Mumford and video design by Nina Dunn.
Watch and Explore

Don Quixote View Gallery

The Choreographer

Born in Havana, Carlos Acosta trained at the Cuban National Ballet School and became the youngest Principal Dancer, at age 18, in the history of English National Ballet, where he was colleagues with Artistic Director Hope Muir. He performed with the Cuban National Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Royal Ballet and as an international guest artist, later founding his own company, Acosta Danza, in Cuba. Acosta was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014 and appointed Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020.

The Composers

Czech composer and violinist Ludwig Minkus wrote the popular ballet scores Don Quixote and La Bayadère. Born in Vienna and based in Russia, he led the Bolshoi Orchestra and was appointed official composer of ballet music at the Imperial Theatres in St. Petersburg in 1870, developing a rich creative partnership with Marius Petipa.

Hans Vercauteren is a Belgian composer, conductor and orchestrator who focuses on writing for theatre and drama. With his partner Lente Verelst, he founded Story Tree, a production company specializing in new music theatre shows. His orchestrations for opera and ballet include commissions from The Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders and The Royal Ballet.


“Sheer sunniness… dazzling technique. A pure celebration of the pleasure of classical dance” – The Guardian

“Carlos Acosta serves up an irresistible, sun-kissed romance” – The Telegraph

“This is a large-scale work, with demanding classical technique and a lavish new production. And it pays off.” – The Independent

“Carlos Acosta’s decades of experience, both dancing and directing Don Quixote, really shone through, making this an unmissable production for any ballet lover.” – Winchester Today


Carlos Acosta after Marius Petipa

Staged By:
Christopher Saunders and Patricia Tierney

Original music composed by Ludwig Minkus, new arrangement by Hans Vercauteren.

Act II Campfire Sequence, original music composed by Hans Vercauteren.

Set and Costume Design:
Tim Hatley

Lighting Design:
Peter Mumford

Video Design:
Nina Dunn

World Premiere: The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, London, UK, September 30, 2013,

Restaged for Birmingham Royal Ballet, February 22, 2022

The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, June 1, 2024

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Head of Production Hire and Sales: Doug Nicholson

Costume Production Supervisor: Vanda Hewston

The Sets, Costumes, and Props for this production were first presented by Birmingham Royal Ballet in its production of Don Quixote at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 22 February 2022.

Lead philanthropic support for Don Quixote is generously provided by Tony Arrell, C.M. and Anne Arrell, with additional support by The Producers’ Circle.

The Producers’ Circle (2024): Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry Lozinski, O.C. & Joan Lozinski, O.C., The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado, C.M. & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation and Alexander Younger & Sarah Richardson.

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