The Dartmoor Pixies


A ballet by
John Craton

Scene: A forest glade at evening


As evening falls, pixies gather and dance a Circle Dance collectively near stage left. When the dance is concluded they assume the “dead swan position” in a circle, representing a fairy ring on the grass. The night becomes darker, and a Will-o’-the-Wisp dances onstage (beginning stage right) followed by two small children. The children have become lost in the woods, and having seen the light from the Will-o’-the-Wisp, they follow it as it gradually leads them inside the fairy ring. Once inside the ring the pixies slowly rise and reveal themselves to the children who are initially frightened but are comforted by the pixies’ care. Soon the pixies commence various tasks as the children watch: To aid their human neighbours, the pixies churn butter, thresh wheat and, when concluded, sweep the area clean in a spritely Broom Dance. As they then begin relaxing from their labours, a Wolf steals onto the stage with the obvious intent of eating the children. But the Wolf’s designs are thwarted when the pixies espy him, and they chase him away. As the children now are visibly frightened by all that they have experienced in this enchanted evening, the Slumber Fairy comes forward and sprinkles slumber dust on them so that they can enjoy a night’s rest. As night progresses, the pixies resume their fairy ring; and when dawn breaks and the children awake, all they see is the fairy ring on the ground. Delighted with the dawn, they now know their way home and depart happily hand-in-hand. After the children leave the pixies reprise much of the Circle Dance to congratulate themselves on a night well spent.

Audio mp3s

Circle Dance
Welcoming & Butter-churn Dance
Threshing Dance
Broom Dance
The Wolf
Slumber Fairy


Scored for strings, harp, and percussion (timpani, glockenspiel, tenor drum, bass drum, bodhran, gong, triangle, slapstick, chimes, tambourine) with a small part for bagpipes with G-D drones.
Total length: approximately 26 minutes. Score and parts are available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

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