The Gone with the Wind Ballet: Romantic Novel in Dance

Gone with the Wind, ballet style? It’s a dream come true for fans of one of the world’s most popular romantic novels.

Gone with the Wind: Hungarian National Ballet

I remember, after re-reading Gone with the Wind, thinking “Wow, this would make an amazing ballet!” It’s so easy to picture: a scorching pas de deux between Scarlett and Rhett, the battle scenes, the ball…

Fortunately, Hungarian choreographer Lilla Pártay had already made that dream come true some years earlier. Her ballet Gone with the Wind premiered at the State Opera in Budapest, Hungary in spring 2007. The ballet was danced to the music of Anton Dvorák and was performed by the Hungarian National Ballet. The opening night starred Aleszja Popova in the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

Scenes from Gone with the Wind Ballet: Melanie and Ashley

This is a gorgeous clip from the ballet. It features a sweetly radiant Melanie Hamilton, performed by Radiņa Dace (Dace Radina) sharing a dance with future husband Ashley Wilkes, performed by Oláh Zoltán (Zoltan Olah). You can catch glimpses of a rather put-out Scarlett in the background. The costumes look stunning in this production, and the set beautifully done.

I know, I know. You’re simply dying to see Rhett. Well, thanks to the same source, here he is at the beginning of this Act Three clip from the Gone With the Wind ballet. Plus a Melanie and Ashley pas de deux. Possibly it was the dancer of the Melanie role, or one of these fans, who posted these clips. Sadly there are no others to show more of Scarlett, Rhett or the other characters. Visit Getty Images to see a picture of Scarlett in the Gone With the Wind Ballet

Even earlier than this production, Atlanta Ballet also was reported to be staging a full-length Gone with the Wind ballet. Unfortunately, information on this production (which was to be part of Atlanta Ballet’s 2002-03 season) is thin on the ground. Does anyone know whether it actually happened, and why it seems to have been dropped from their repertoire? On the face of it, it was the perfect production for the company. At that time, they also had exclusive rights to interpret the novel as a ballet.

Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell’s Scandalous Dance

In more recent times, Atlanta Ballet has paid tribute to Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell with the Apache dance. The young Peggy Mitchell danced this in 1921 at her debutante ball. The dance caused a scandal with its tempestuous passion, complete with a real kiss plus mimed slaps and a knee to the groin. No doubt it was every bit as much a sensation as Margaret had hoped. Society was shocked enough to deny her membership of the Atlanta Junior League.

Here Apache is performed at the Georgia Public Broadcasting’s 50th Anniversary Gala (2011), by Atlanta Ballet dancers Nadia Mara (as Margaret Mitchell) and Heath Gill. The choreographer is Tara Lee, and the dance is set to tango music by Astor Astor Piazolla. It was also performed in the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2011 by the Wabi Sabi summer dance project.

Clearly, Margaret Mitchell loved dramatic dance, and drew on her own tempestuous passions to create her beloved characters. None, it seems, would have approved quite so much of a Gone with the Wind ballet as the author herself.