About This Program
The Little Slippers
In Russian and Ukrainian literature, Nikolai Gogol holds an equivalent place to Edgar Allen Poe, specializing in the romantic gothic horror genre; however, unlike Poe, the macabre elements are undercut by elements of humor. Gogol’s writing served as the subject for a variety of musical compositions; in this ballet, we are using Tchaikovsky’s music to present a one-act version of “Черевички” or The Little Slippers. Vakula, the blacksmith, loves the prettiest girl in the village, Oksana, but she demands better quality shoes if their courtship should go any further. Vakula falls into despair and stumbles upon a witches’ sabbath happening in the forest. He tussles with the devil (in the form of a large black cat) and ends up landing in St. Petersburg. While in St. Petersburg, Vakula asks Catherine the Great for a pair of slippers and the bemused Tsarina fulfills his request. Vakula goes back to Oksana who greets him with an open heart; she wants him, not the slippers.
"Our kids (even the 'too cool' for this kids) were very engaged throughout the performance and some teachers did a follow-up writing activity. I had prepared the kids before the performance with storyline, characters, etc. It fit very nicely into my music curriculum as well as our literacy curriculum. Beautiful music, beautiful dancing, close proximity to the audience kept the students engaged"
Carolyn, Teacher, Dr. Gustavas Brown Elementary
"Wow, what a great performance and a great audience!! I love that the students had this opportunity. One boy in my class, who has a difficult time focusing and completing work, sat in rapt attention. I turned around to look at him and he had tears in his eyes. I said, "Logan, what's wrong?" and he replied, "I just really like this." POWERFUL!"
Megan, Teacher, Nantucket Elementary
"Our students were fascinated by ballet, a dance form most of them have never been exposed to. The fact that this assembly incorporated a story familiar to students made the performance that much better."
Tammy, Teacher, St. Leonard Elementary