One of the funniest spots in Walt Disney’s full-length Fantasia is the wild burlesquing of a ballet, done to the music of “The Dance of the Hours” by Ponchielli. The “prima ballerina” in this irreverent kidding of the dance is Mlle Upanova. Pronounce her name slowly and you’ll get it. On the screen, you’ll see her as coy, winsome ostrich with feet like canal boats, a black velvet ribbon tied around her long neck, wearing a costume of her own plumes. Such crazy goings-on when the Mlle really gets started with a chorus of her sisters happen only in the delirious designs of Walt Disney. Mlle Upanova is assisted in her satire by Hyacinth Hippo, whose name is a clue to her rattle-brain character; by Ben All Gater and his pals, who are the villains; and by a chorus of “beef trust” elephants who finally wreck the place. The ballet as an art, of course, is no doubt here to stay. But after Fantasia, which is released by RKO Radio, there will be many people who never again will be able to watch toe-dancing without thinking of Mlle. Upanova, the side-splitting ostrich diva drawn by Disney.
From the 1940 Fantasia Press Book