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The Firebird Story by Stravinsky

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Ivan sees the magical Firebird

Ivan Sees the Magical Firebird

The Russian Ballet : A Firebird Story for Kids

Art and sport are two things that make us human, and ballet is where those two things meet.

The Firebird is inspired by Russian mythology and culture. The title character is a powerful female spirit bird with magical feathers that give beauty and safety while flashing like flame tongues. 

In this article we will discuss the story of The Firebird by Stravinsky which is performed as a ballet around the world.

The Story

Prince Ivan is out hunting near an enchanted castle owned by Kashchei, the Immortal, a wicked magician. Ivan sees a supernatural golden bird, the Firebird, while out hunting. Ivan catches the magical bird as she picks golden apples from a neighbouring tree and begs for her freedom. In exchange, the Firebird gives Prince Ivan a magical feather from her golden tail, which will protect him from danger.

The Firebird is set free after Prince Ivan accepts the feather. The Firebird will come to Ivan's rescue whenever he waves the magical feather.

Meanwhile, Kashchei, the evil magician, is busy capturing lovely young women and turning handsome young men into stone sculptures.

Outside the enchanted castle, Ivan notices a lovely princess and 12 maidens. Prince Ivan was fascinated with the princess right away. He wants her to accompany him on his journey, but the princess explains to Ivan that she and her companions are held captive by the evil magician. Anyone who tries to save them will be turned to stone. The maidens are forced to return to the sorcerer's castle, but they are followed by the prince.

Ivan enters the castle in order to face the magician. Prince Ivan is caught, and just as the magician is about to turn him into stone, he remembers the magic feather and waves it.

The Firebird appears and forces the magician and his minions to perform a furious dance, compelling them to dance harder and faster until they all pass out. The servants and the evil magician get too exhausted to kill Ivan because of dancing.

The Firebird then sings them a lullaby to put them to sleep. Ivan is told by the Firebird to look for a magic egg, which is the source of all the evil magician's power. The spell was broken when the prince found the egg and destroyed it. All of the stone sculptures, including the princess and her friends, come to life. Ivan and the princess got married and had a happy life together.

Themes in the Ballet

Stravinsky tells a story using a variety of musical styles. To begin, he assigns each character a musical theme that reflects his or her personality. It's important to remember that this is a ballet, thus there will be no singing or talking. 

Folk tune-like melodies in a known scale are used to illustrate human characteristics such as Prince Ivan and his princess. Mythical characters like the Firebird and Koschei, on the other hand, are represented by chromatic musical sequences. Chromaticism uses notes that are not part of the diatonic scale, making the music more mysterious, exotic, and unexpected, as well as identifying certain characters as alien.


Stravinsky's orchestral work, The Firebird, was full of exciting music that attracted audiences at the time. It was also a beautiful story of winning love over evil. To read more of such fascinating tales, visit our website and explore the huge collection of stories and study materials for kids.

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FAQs on The Firebird Story by Stravinsky

1. How does the story begin?

Prince Ivan begins the story by wandering through a garden late at night. He captures the Firebird when she was eating golden apples. When she offers him a magical feather, he releases her. Prince Ivan is informed by the Firebird that he is nearing the castle of Koschei the Deathless, a dangerous magician. While hiding in the garden, Prince Ivan sees thirteen captured princesses enter the garden and dance. He develops feelings for one of them and decides to save them.

2. What was the Firebird’s spell over the sorcerer and his followers?

The Firebird casted a spell on the sorcerer and his followers, causing them to uncontrollably dance until they passed out. After that, the prince destroyed a magical egg containing the key to the sorcerer's life. The sorcerer's spell was broken, the princesses were set free, the statues were brought back to life, and Prince Ivan married his bride.

3. What is Ballet, exactly?

Ballet is a form of art that is created by the human body's movement. It is theatrical, meaning it is played in front of an audience on a stage with costumes, scenery, and lighting. It can be used to narrate a story or to describe a concept, thought, or emotion. Ballet dance can be enchanting, enthralling, intriguing, or disturbing.