Joan Harris Center for Gifted & Talented
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The Story of Our Upcoming Ballet-Corciev

Corciev Photo #2

A Synopsis of the Ballet


A long, long time ago in a land far away from here, there was a beautiful forest. In those days it had been a sunny place where fruit trees and scented wood rooted through the forest floor and drank deeply from the forest streams. Near this majestic woods rested a peaceful kingdom ruled by the good Queen Clava.

But there came a day when the Queen of the land lost her child, the one dearest to her heart. And she despaired. Queen Clava began to wander at night through the streets of the town and the dark hallways of the castle searching desperately for her lost daughter, but alas, to no avail. The townspeople tried to comfort their Queen, but her grief exceeded anything they had ever seen. No words of sympathy or gifts of flowers could touch the abyss of her pain.

At last there came a day when the miserable wanderings of Clava took her outside the city walls and to the forest itself. The woodland spirits felt pity on the sad queen and beckoned her deeper into the woods.

“Surely”, the spirits thought, “the delight and merriment here is greater than the labor of her heart.” And so the forest called out to Clava, “Come, come and find peace.”

But Clava misunderstood the forest’s offer. In her tormented state, she thought they were inferring that her child was there, within the wood. When she reached the middle of the forest, she began to call out the name of her beloved child, and her song became a queer counterpoint to the song of the night wood.

Soon the forest itself began to weep, and the woods became dark and damp, as if the leaves were crying black tears. It was then that the townspeople named the forest Corciev, which means “grieving wood”. The forest became to be regarded with fear by all the people of the kingdom. Few people ever entered the woods and even then never ventured off the path. What had once been a joyful spot had become a dismal place. Hatred grew between the people of the kingdom and the forest Corciev. There was no peace between them except the peace of severed communication.

“Let us choose a new king and queen.” said one of the townspeople, “We can only hope that Queen Clava has found her peace at last.”

It was decided that a new royal family would be chosen from the noblest in the land. King Brenneth and Queen Meriel ruled the land from that day forward. They were good and fair and the kingdom prospered under their care.


It is the night of Princess Anna’s seventh birthday party. The entire kingdom has been invited to attend the royal party at the palace. Dignitaries and dancers from far away lands travel to the palace to be part of the celebration. There are Dutch, Mazurka and Far East Dancers. Emissaries from Ireland, Russia, and China. Anna’s Friends play a game of blind man bluff. It is a joyous event as everyone commemorates the date with songs and dances late into the evening. The King has summoned the court Sorceress to perform for the guests. But, while all are enjoying the festivities, the silent figure of Queen Clava appears. She is unnoticed by the crowd as she inspects the children for she is still searching for her lost daughter. The evening gets late and unaware of what is happening the king sends Princess Anna and her sister Princess Joan to bed.


Queen Clava summons her subject spirits from the forest and sends them to capture the sleeping Princess Anna. The wraiths invade Anna’s bedroom which she shares with her older sister Joan. Joan struggles to defend her sister from the abductors but in the end proves to be no match for the dark spirits and collapses exhausted. The spirits whisk Anna away to the forest Corciev.

Shortly after, Princess Joan is awakened by four good spirits who want to help her rescue her sister. The good spirits provide Joan with a magical cloak, a lantern, some magic dust and a gift of courage to help her complete the dangerous task of rescuing her Anna. Armed with these gifts she sets off for the dark forest, Corciev.


Joan has wandered through out the night and as dawn approaches, she spies on a tiny village appearing through the fog. Not knowing if it is real or a mirage she decides to enter and ask for help. Fortunately, Princess Joan has never left the watchful eye of the King’s Sorceress.

Unknown to the princess, the village is inhabited by the most eccentric people, including; peddlers, fortune tellers, practitioners of magic, and gypsies. All who are under the spell of the dark Queen. Their job is to distract, discourage, or direct away anyone who comes looking for the children Clava has spirited away.

The gypsies feign concern for the princess in order to rob her of the magical gifts. They convince the peddlers to give her a drugged pear that once Joan bites into, causes her to become confused and fall to the ground. The gypsies steal the lantern and dust and give them to their dark queen. The sorceress arrives and although she can not remove the curse, she casts her own magical spell that no harm will come to the Princess and that her dreams will be harbingers of her future.

While lying on the ground, she begins to have bizarre visions and frightening images dancing around her. She dreams of trees that move by themselves! They seem to have a message for her. This is followed by a dream about mad judges. They appear to be assessing whether or not Princess Joan has the strength and will power to successfully complete her mission. In the end they deem her worthy. As Joan slowly awakes, Queen Clava arrives and a fierce battle of white and black magic occurs between Clava and the Sorceress. Joan uses this chance to retrieve her lantern and the pouch of dust and returns to her mission to rescue Princess Anna.


Once inside the forest Corciev, Joan encounters a treacherous maze of trees. She becomes frightened among the gloomy woods, for she senses that the trees themselves are following her. Joan tries to out run them but her efforts are in vain. At the same time, Clava has sent in mischievous ravens who serve as her eyes in the forest. They are searching for Joan but the trees then hide her. Sensing their benevolence, the princess asks the trees for assistance and they show her the way to her sister.

As she travels even deeper into the forest, Joan becomes exhausted. She lies down and falls asleep. She is soon found by some woodland sprites. These little people are frightened of her at first, but eventually play merrily with the princess. They become aware of the approaching Queen Clava and pull Joan out of sight.

Queen Clava enters the clearing and awaits her subject spirits to return. One by one each spirit arrives and presents a child from the kingdom to Clava. The last dark wraith enters with Princess Anna. When the Queen meets Anna face to face, she tries to persuade her to remain in the forest. Clava explains that she is very lonely here; she lost her own daughter years before and is eager to have Anna’s companionship.

But Anna is frightened and refuses to listen to what Clava is saying. She repeatedly attempts to escape, until the distraught Queen is brought to tears. Anna takes pity on the miserable woman and offers her hand in friendship. Clava misunderstands and thinks that Anna is agreeing to stay in the woods and magically sends Anna and all the other children to sleep. The queen then leaves the clearing to wander the forest once again alone.

Soon Princess Joan arrives at the forest encampment where the children and the dark spirits are sleeping. The children waken, but are held fast to their spots by some mysterious power. Joan frees them with her magical dust, but as they flee, the children stop to take one last look at the sad forest spirits. Like Anna, they are moved with pity and rush back to say a farewell to the wraiths. However, as they say their final good-bye, Queen Clava suddenly reappears. The forest spirits vow to protect the children if she attempts to stop their departure. Anna pushes her way through the crowd and once again she tries to comfort the sad queen. She promises the queen that she will return from time to time on visits. For this the Clava is grateful and her soul lightens, lifting the dark spell from the forest Corciev.


The good spirits, wraiths, Joan, Anna, Clava and the Sorceress perform a farewell dance in celebration of the lifting of the spell. Once again the forest is beautiful and cheerful place, as everyone lives happily ever after.