Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen
Music by Canadian Brass, Hector Berlioz & Robert Schumann
Choreography by Courtney Lyon

A Rooster crows at daybreak, waking Mama Duck and her four Ducklings, who have been keeping watch over Mama’s egg.  When Mama’s especially large egg begins to crack, the little Ducklings gather around to meet their new sister.  They are eager to show her around their happy home on the banks of the Mississippi.  At first, the little Ducklings notice that their new sister looks different than they do – she is taller, has bigger wings and much bigger feet! – but they are not bothered by her differences.  They love her all the same.  However, the Rooster and Geese who live nearby are not as kind.  They tease her and call her names like “Ugly Duckling.”  They think that because she looks different then all the other Ducklings, she isn’t as good of a bird.  The Ugly Duckling begins to think this is true. Not wanting to embarrass her family any more by her differences, and unsure of how to deal with barnyard bullies, she decides to run away from her happy home on the Mississippi, sneaking off while no one is watching.

Lost and lonely in the deep, dark woods, the Ugly Duckling encounters strange noises and startling new animals.  She becomes friends with a Tom Cat and a Hen, who help her escape the dangerous Hunting Dog’s attacks.  The Ugly Duckling, though comforted by her new friendships, misses her home and wonders if she will ever find a place to fit in.  Sad and alone, she is overcome by the winter’s bitter winds and whirling snow.

Spring arrives to the forest, and with it comes two beautiful white Swans.  The Swans come across the Ugly Duckling.  Recognizing her as one of their own, they rescue her from her lonely time in the woods.  The Ugly Duckling is joyously welcomed back by her family on the banks of the river.  They are just as surprised as she is to discover that she was never an ugly duckling at all, but a beautiful Swan from the very beginning!

Ballet Quad Cities is one of our Midwest region’s premiere arts organizations. Launched as a professional dance company in 1996 by Founding Executive Director Joedy Cook, Ballet Quad Cities has garnered critical praise for its stunning performances.  Ballet Quad Cities is the longest-running resident professional ballet company in the entire state of Iowa and western Illinois, one of only 100 in the nation.  Our award winning performances and interactive school and community programs are accessible for everyone.  Each year we touch over 25,000 people with the amazing, athletic and entertaining art of dance.

Ways to help bullying prevention offered by The Ugly Duckling Outreach Program*
  • Classroom activities to discuss issues related to bullying
  • Integration of bullying prevention themes across the curriculum
  • Surveys of students to assess the nature and extent of bullying behavior and attitudes toward bullying
  • Educating staff of schools on the importance of recognizing and responding to bullying (25% of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns)
  • Teaching students how to be a part of the solution to bullying by becoming Defenders.

*Information gathered from the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (
Quad Cities Ballet dancers are trained in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program