Once upon a time, a young girl tried on a pair of shoes, and guess what? They weren’t merely the right fit, they led her into a future where her secret dreams came true and she became the woman she was always meant to be.

First thoughts, of course, are that we’re talking here about Cinderella and the rags-to-riches fairytale that has captivated the world for centuries in story books, on-stage in opera and pantomime, on-screen in cartoon and film. Ballets, too, have set the romance dancing towards the familiar happy ending – tonight sees Scottish Ballet bringing all the light and shade of Cinders’ transformation from drudge to princess onto the Christmas stage in a version choreographed by their artistic director Christopher Hampson.

You could just as easily, however, have in mind Eve Mutso, and the pointe-shoes that led her to become a Principal dancer with Scottish Ballet. Mutso will laugh, and tell you about how, as a child in her homeland of Estonia, she was taken to the theatre and – even before the end of Swan Lake – knew for a certainty where her future lay. “I think it was something about that magical, untouchable world on-stage that drew me in,” she says. “I wanted to be a part of that, and it had to be dance because I couldn’t sing!” Actually, it had to be dance because of her innate talent, and because of the drive and determination she brought to years of training in her native Tallinn and subsequent seasons dancing solo roles with the Estonian National Ballet before she joined Scottish Ballet in 2003.

Ashley Page had just taken over the artistic reins of the company, and for Mutso it was a case of “being in the right place at the right time for me, as a dancer."

"The size of the company and the repertoire that has come into the company has offered me wonderful opportunities. We are this relatively small company, but we’ve got this ambition under our skin and that’s our fuel. It has made us grow, and I’m really happy to have been here, and to have been a dancer who choreographers wanted to invest their time and ideas in.”

Well, what choreographer wouldn’t want to have Eve Mutso bringing their steps to life on-stage? Even during a break in rehearsals, hair scraped back and her tall slender frame swaddled in layers of practice sweats and woollies, Mutso has poise and elegance. Put her on pointe and she rises beyond her natural height of five foot seven inches, to a pinnacle of gracefulness with long, long legs that make short (and technically brilliant) work of the Balanchine and Forsythe choreographies that Scottish Ballet acquired. The cool, composed blonde has, however, a mischievous side and it is to the fore in Hampson’s Cinderella where some nights she’s ethereal as the Fairy Godmother, and other nights she’s hilariously awful as a bullying Ugly Sister, wickedly vicious and killingly funny.

And then there’s Blanche, the woman disintegrating at the heart of Tennessee Williams’ drama, A Streetcar Named Desire. Everywhere the ballet, created for Scottish Ballet in 2012 by Nancy Meckler and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, has toured, Mutso’s nuanced ability to find the painfully ridiculous and the pitifully fragile in Blanche has proved a personal triumph on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps as much of a triumph as balancing a demanding career with motherhood – ten months after her daughter was born (in 2008), she was back on-stage in Page’s Nutcracker.

So why, after thirteen years with a company she clearly cherishes, is Eve Mutso leaving in the New Year? The voice, still tinged with accents of Estonia, is pitched between wistful and resolute.

“I think I just felt the momentum gathering in me.” she says. “A big, big period of really good work has just happened, and if I don’t use that momentum when my ideas are ripe and my body is in good shape and overall the energy I have is positive.” There’s a pause. She smiles. “I just feel I have to do something for myself now. I’ve been dabbling a bit with choreography and film, and meeting a lot of really interesting artists from a different spectrum of life. I’m ready to start collaborations and see if other doors open. I am able to be very determined, and to push myself and take risks. I think I am at my best, when I’m on my edge. I trust my impulse and it says to me now, that I should leave before I lose this feeling of momentum.”

She’s already been accepted by Dance UK for their Choreographers Observership Programme and will be watching and working with that doyen of British contemporary dance, Christopher Bruce next spring. It’s a move that echoes one of her own choreographies, elEven – shown at Dance Base during last year’s Fringe – where breaking out of the classical comfort zone provides the kind of challenges she thrives on.

While Eve Mutso is about to step into a new phase of creativity in dance, Hampson’s version of Cinderella is imaginatively side-stepping some of the more well-worn conventions associated with the narrative. It’s not gratuitous tinkering on his part, more a way of getting people to look again at what he feels are the everyday realities, the vital humanity, within the fairy-tale.

He explains what he means. “It’s one of those stories that everybody knows, or at any rate, they know certain details. The glass slipper, the pumpkin. But for me, it’s more about how a young girl copes with grief after her mother dies and everything changes in her life. That’s really where I came up with the image of the rose that runs through the whole ballet, and how not only the rose-bush on her mother’s grave but all of nature is what helps this Cinderella to get through everything that’s thrown at her. Even after the Prince has found her, she still runs to that rose tree. You think it’s all been resolved, and that she’s got her happy ending, but she still hasn’t got a mother. The man beside her is not the solution, he can’t over-ride that grief, but him being there is how things are now and in her hopefully happier future.”

This Cinderella, however, has a happy past that originated on the other side of the world. In 2007, Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) commissioned Hampson to make a new classical ballet using Prokofiev’s richly emotive score. It’s still in their repertoire, much loved by audiences wherever they tour it. When Hampson arrived at Scottish Ballet some five years later, he showed a marked reluctance to bring in any of his previous RNZB hits. He had his reasons.

“I don’t know...bringing in something that I’d created on other dancers, dancers I had come to know really well, feels odd, maybe even inappropriate – like bringing significant things from a previous relationship into the one you have now. The only way I could unlock that, was for me to re-work and tweak some of it, but also to mess about with some of the casting, put people into new partnerships, bring different people into the kind of roles they haven’t danced before – really, to make the most of these dancers whom I have come to know so well, and am closer to than in any other company I’ve worked with. That’s allowed me to give this Cinderella the same value – the same ambitions and qualities – as the one I made for RNZB.

"And I’m a better choreographer now!" he adds with a chuckle. "I know what it is I want to say, and how I can express that with the dancers.”

For Hampson, Cinderella is not about status or money or even marriage. It’s about “love, nature, honesty, all winning out in the end.” For Eve Mutso, it’s the end of her multi-faceted achievements with Scottish Ballet.

“Nothing of this time will be forgotten,” she says.”I will have ghosts of these thirteen years always with me. My experiences have helped me form my own choreographic language. All these steps I’ve done – they will be settling deep into me. I will take so much knowledge of how to dance with my heart, as well as my body. And although I might not be on-stage, I will try to give that feeling to the dancers who will dance my choreography one day.”

New shoes and new paths to follow – it could almost be a fairytale.

Scottish Ballet opens the UK premiere of Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella at the Festival Theatre tonight until Thurs Dec 31 before touring Scotland in January 2016.