Le Boutique fantasque was a light-hearted a ballet in one act was choreographed by Léonide Massine to an arrangement of music by Giacomo Rossini arranged and orchestrated by Ottorino Respighi. The production was designed by André Derain with the sets painted by Vladimir and Elizabeth Polunin and the costumes made by Alias Ltd. It was created for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and first performed at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, on 5 June 1919, where it was a terrific hit. As one critic wrote after the premiere, in La Boutique Fantasque ‘the old and the reactionary and the new music and “choreography” and décor all run together into a piece of merry nonsense, so single and so compelling that it carries
The action of the ballet is set in a toy-shop c.1865. Clients visit to see the novelties and the can-can dancers are purchased by different families. At night, after the shop had closed, the toys come to life and enable the can-can dancers to elope. In the morning they are found to be missing by the disgruntled purchases.