The Firebird is a 1910 ballet choreographed by Michael Fokine to music composed by Igor Stravinsky, with a plot based on several Russian folk tales.
The story concerns Prince Ivan, who is hunting in a forest one day, when he catches sight of the dazzling Firebird. He gives chase and captures her, but she pleads with him to let her go. Ivan relents and frees her, and as a gesture of gratitude, the Firebird gives him one of her feathers, instructing him to wave it above his head if ever he is in danger. Continuing deeper into the forest, Ivan encounters a group of 13 dancing princesses, who inform him that they are prisoners of the sorcerer Kashchei. Having fallen in love with one of the princesses, Ivan vows to free them from Kashchei's evil clutches and goes off in search of the sorcerer's castle.
The Firebird provides examples of:
- Androcles' Lion: After Ivan frees the Firebird, she later comes to his aid and defeats Kashchei's monsters. A weird example because he was the one who captured her in the first place.
- Big Damn Heroes: Just when it looks like Ivan is toast, he remembers to wave the feather and the Firebird bursts in and kills all of Kashchei's monsters.
- Damsels in Distress: The princesses.
- Distressed Dude: Ivan, once Kashchei gets ahold of him.
- Evil Sorcerer: Kashchei the Deathless.
- Hot Wings
- It May Help You on Your Quest: The Firebird gives Ivan one of her feathers, which proves invaluable later on.
- The Lost Woods: The setting for the whole ballet.
- Love at First Sight: Ivan and the Princess.
- MacGuffin: The feather.
- Satellite Love Interest: Ivan's princess doesn't do much besides give him a reason to fight Kashchei.
- Shout-Out: The track "Amnesia Vivace" from Frank Zappa's Absolutely Free quotes from the "Berceuse" from Stravinsky's "The Firebird".
- Soul Jar: Kashchei's egg.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Kashchei/Katscheï/Koschei.
- Summon Magic: The Firebirds feather seems to work this way.