So, anyway, I watched this one:
Act 1 opens on Don Quixote just basically standing there. Nothing happens. Cut to village square where a super cock tease of a young lady (is cocktease one word or two? Why do I even get in to situations where I need to know these things?) named Kitri is flirting shamelessly with Whatisname. After a lot of flirting and being coy at one another they get all sexy-times and her dad comes out and says "seriously, girl. No. You is gonna marry this old rich dude." She's annoyed about it and then Don Quixote wanders in and decides she is ... well, I am guessing he thinks she is Dulcinea (though Dulcinea never actually appears in the book, but WHATEVER.) and she is kind of at least nice to him. Some village rogues come along and make kissy-face at the village girls. Kitri and Whatisname use the confusion to give her dad and fiance the slip and run off.
They meet some gypsies. For some reason. The Macho Man gypsy and the Sultry Lady gypsy get jiggy for a while, there are strange overtones of domestic violence. There is a puppet show. Which Don Quixote walks in on and takes exception to. For some reason. So he flails around a little bit while everyone laughs at him. And then a windmill shows up. Because they do that, you know, windmills. Walkin' around like it ain't no thang. And of course Don Quixote rushes off to deal with them. But at this point, you know, maybe he isn't so cray-cray after all. Because if windmills just started walkin' in to my parties, I'd be a little freaked out, too.
Later on... there are a bunch of cupids... just hangin' around... and Kitri and a bunch of other girls dress up in froofy skirts that sit weirdly on their bottoms (maybe that isn't part of the story, I don't know) and frolic around all pastoral-like for a while. I am unsure if this was supposed to be a wedding or a statement about maidenhood.
In the end there is a big kerfloo, where Whatisname pretends to have stabbed himself to death for the sake of losing Kitri to the old guy, but actually he's fine and when he bounds up her dad is like "way-hey! Oh no problem, actually you can totally marry my daughter". For. Some. Reason.
The ballet closes with a newly be-tutued Kitri and Whatisname engaging in what I can only assume to be an interpretive dance symbolizing marital harmony.
Don Quixote was sort of in there, mostly just kind of bowing at Kitri a lot and clasping his bosom like he's having a heart attack.
Now, don't let's think it was a bad ballet. It certainly wasn't. It had good music and excellent dancing and was fun. It was engaging, which is more than you can say for Les Sylphides or the aforementioned Swan Lake. And I have to make allowances, because in all honesty I kind of enjoyed Man Of La Mancha, and that is not terribly faithful to the story, either. But... I guess I don't understand why Don Quixote was in it at all. Was he the big name that drew in the audiences back in the day? Oh, and I forgot the weirdly inappropriate belly dance number. Which is a thing. That happens.
Next on my watch-this-while-procrastinating list: La Esmeralda.