Enter Madame Upanova. She begins to perform her warm-up exercises, waking her fellow dancers. As they perform, their movements made somewhat ungainly by their long legs, Madame Upanova is thrown into the air, descending gracefully. She flutters her eyelashes and her bow at the viewer. She then finds a large conch of fruit and distributes it among her dancers, but chooses to keep the grapes for herself. The ostriches squabble between themselves over the grapes, resulting in the grapes being dropped into a pool, from which bubbles rise.
Enter Hyacinth Hippo. Madame Upanova and her dancers stopped frowning. She eats the grapes while shaking water off her ballet slippers and tail, and is dressed in a tutu by her servants, making herself up with a powder puff, and then begins to dance slowly and gracefully. Ironically the skinny ostriches are playing 'pat-a-cake' with her hippo servants and pirouetting, spinning her fat up her body and sinking down again. However, this soon tires her out and she yawns. Her servants pull her to a couch, which she falls asleep on, her weight bending the couch visibly as evening falls.
Enter Elephanchine and her elephant troupe. They tiptoe in so as not to wake the sleeping Hyacinth, surrounding her briefly, and then moving to the pool where they begin to blow bubbles with their trunks. One to her astonishment blows a bubble with a goldfish in it. Hyacinth yawns widely, inhaling all the bubbles and when one bursts on her bottom, tugging her tutu down a little. However, she does not awaken. With their bubbles, the elephant troupe create their own tutus, and begin to blow bubbles and kick them off their backs, though one gets a bubble stuck on her foot. They create a pillar of bubbles that supports the slumbering Hyacinth high in the air. A strong wind blows, blowing the elephants and their bubbles away, night falls, and Hyacinth drifts gently to the ground.
The clock strikes six, and alligators begin to approach the sleeping Hyacinth, surrounding her. One whispers to his companions and points at the sleeping Hyacinth. Enter Ben Ali Gator. Seeing the alligators surrounding Hyacinth, he puts on his cape and leaps forward, frightening them away. He then approaches Hyacinth, and is instantly astounded by her beauty. She awakens and is surprised by Ben Ali Gator, then enters a Pas de Deux with him, first fleeing, then running back, and leaping into a lift, which the much slimmer Ben Ali has trouble performing. He pirouettes her, eventually riding around on her extended leg and finally bowing to her.
In the climax, Hyacinth teases Ben Ali, running from his advances and nearly running into several alligators as she does so. He pursues her, falling into the pool as he does so. She then runs through a line of dancing hippos. Ben Ali and his alligators pursue them also, frightening them away. The ostriches and elephants hide behind pillars as the alligators search the palace, pulling out hippos, elephants and ostriches, with the ballet becoming rapidly more chaotic. Ben Ali is shown dancing with Hyacinth, performing lifts rapidly, finally standing over her, with her gazing adoringly at him. On a final drumbeat, the entire palace collapses in on itself.