Nikiya the temple dancer, the heroine of La Bayadère, has to battle the odds to win her true love Solor. Her rival Gamzatti is a rich, spoilt princess who’s determined by fair means or foul to steal the handsome warrior for her own, and who resorts to killing Nikiya with a cunningly planted snake to get her out of the way.
But Nikiya prevails (albeit after death). Solor pledges his love afresh to the vision of her ghost, her shade interrupts the wedding, and in a blissful afterlife, she’s reunited with her man.
Girl battles rich, glamorous rival and wins her way to love … we couldn’t help but think of the many times this plot has delighted us. From the page and the screen, here are our favourite win-the-day heroines. Who’s yours?