Ohio Theatre, Columbus, OH

Ballet’s most famous romantic comedy

Don Quixote Performance
Don Quixote Performance

Lush sets and costumes

Don Quixote Performance
Don Quixote Performance
Don Quixote Performance
Don Quixote Performance

The dancing is SUPER impressive

Don Quixote Performance
Don Quixote Performance

Show Details

Run Time Approximately 2 hours 9 minutes
Approximately 2 hours 9 minutes

This ballet is a full length. Meaning, one ballet with intermissions, similar to a book with chapters.

Act I: 38 Minutes | Intermission: 20 Minutes | Act II: 25 Minutes | Intermission: 20 Minutes | Act 3: 26 Minutes

Choreography after Marius Petipa
after Marius Petipa

View more information here.

Music Ludwig Minkus
Ludwig Minkus

View more information here.

Image of Company Dancer Rachael Parini
The Columbus Dispatch says

“a burst of brightness and beauty”

The Story Behind the Ballet


Don Quixote, an eccentric and old gentleman, lies dreaming in his castle, surrounded by books filled with tales of knights and maidens. These stories inspire a dream of a woman named Dulcinea, and in his delirium, Don Quixote vows to save her from harm. A neighbor, Sancho Panza, bursts in and interrupts Don Quixote’s dreams. Two market women are pursuing him for troublemaking. Don Quixote sends the women away and enlists Sancho as his squire. Together, they set out on an adventure.

Act I

In Barcelona, the beautiful and fiery Kitri, accompanied by her friends Juanita, Piquilla and Mercedes, looks for her sweetheart, the barber Basilio. The famous bullfighter, Espada, and his fellow toreadors arrive in the square. Their happy meeting is interrupted by Kitri’s father, the innkeeper Don Lorenzo, who wishes to betroth Kitri to a rich nobleman named Gamache. Kitri refuses to marry Gamache. She and Basilio join the festivities in the town’s square. The party is halted with the arrival of Don Quixote and Sancho. The townsfolk tease Sancho until Don Quixote puts an end to their meanness. Kitri and Basilio dance, and Don Quixote imagines Kitri as his Dulcinea. He invites her to dance. Gamache is furious but joins the crowd in supporting Don Quixote’s delusion. As the party continues, Kitri and Basilio sneak off to get married. Don Lorenzo and Gamache chase the couple, and Don Quixote and Sancho follow to rescue Kitri.

Act II

Kitri and Basilio seek shelter in a windmill and are captured by a band of gypsies, who soon discover the couple is penniless. Gamache and Don Lorenzo arrive and are robbed by the gypsies. Don Quixote and Sancho arrive, and the gypsies help to set Don Quixote against Gamache and Lorenzo. Their plans are thwarted, as Don Quixote mistakes the windmills for monsters. He attacks them but falters with exhaustion. The gypsies laugh at his defeat, and the lovers run off again with Gamache and Don Lorenzo in pursuit. Don Quixote lies unconscious and dreams that he is in a magic garden ruled by the Queen of the Dryads. Accompanied by Cupid, the Dryad Queen brings him Dulcinea. He declares his love for Dulcinea, but the dream fades, and off he goes with Sancho to find her.


In a tavern, Kitri, Basilio and their friends celebrate their escape when Don Quixote, Gamache, Don Lorenzo and Sancho arrive. Don Lorenzo demands that his daughter marry Gamache. Desperate, Kitri and Basilio play another trick on Don Quixote. Basilio pretends to stab himself in jealousy, and Kitri asks Don Quixote for help. He forces Don Lorenzo to bless Kitri and Basilio before Basilio’s “death.” Gamache challenges Don Quixote to a duel and is defeated. The lovers are reunited, and Don Quixote offers his blessing. Afterwards, he sees a vision of Dulcinea and continues his quest with Sancho.

Ohio Theatre

Get Directions

Listen to the Music

Don Quixote Performance Photo

Meet the Characters

Often referred to as ballet’s most beloved romantic comedy, Don Quixote, based on Miguel de Cervantes’ definitive novel, is a heart-warming story of one erratic and gallant man’s quest for love.

Don Quixote has many memorable characters—gypsies and bullfighters and noblemen—who give this story its buoyancy. They are at the core of what makes Don Quixote an unforgettable production.

Read the Blog

Creating Don Quixote

See how the set of Don Quixote was created at the Ohio Theatre.

Behind the Curtain


Where do I park?

There are parking garages near the Ohio and the Capitol theatres, as well as limited metered street parking (most of which is free after 6 pm and on Sundays).

Ohio Statehouse Parking Garage
$5 during events
Enter from westbound Broad Street or Third Street.

Riffe Center Parking Garage
$5 during events
Enter from Front Street. Take the elevators to the third floor and proceed along the hall to the Davidson Theatre. (For the Box Office or Will Call, descend the escalators to the first floor.)

Downtown traffic can be heavy, so please plan ahead. We recommend arriving 20-30 minutes early to park, find your seat, explore the program and relax before the performance. Audience members who arrive late may not be seated until intermission.

What do I wear?

This is our most-asked question, and the answer is: You probably won’t feel out of place no matter what you wear. If you want to wear jeans, go for it—we promise you won’t be alone. If you want to dress up, feel free. Many others do, too. We don’t see as much formal-wear in the theater as we once did, though it wouldn’t be unusual to see a tux or a gown at a performance. Basically, anything goes.

Do the dancers talk?

No, dancers express the story or meaning through the movement. In some story ballets, dancers will use pantomime (exaggerated movements) to help you understand what’s happening. If you see a ballet with pantomime, head to the lobby, where we’ll have more information and guidance. If you ever struggle to follow along, feel free to chat with a BalletMet staff member in the lobby who will happily answer any questions you have.

When do I clap?

If you are wowed by something you just saw, please do applaud. At BalletMet, we love to hear clapping. It’s uplifting to those performing, as they can often feel your excitement and energy on stage. So applaud whenever you see fit! Note: Not every ballet company feels this way, so keep that in mind if you happen to be at another company’s performance.

Images by Jennifer Zmuda