This song is about a dancer who tries on a cursed pair of red shoes, which make her dance "Until her legs fall off." The song was inspired by a character in the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film of the same title, which itself was inspired by the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.
In the video, actress Miranda Richardson plays the mysterious woman who gives Kate the shoes.
Anna from Ny, NyYes, it is a fragment of a fairy tale. Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about the story at length in _The Red Shoes: On Torment and the Recovery of Soul Life_. This may be more than Kate Bush was thinking of when she wrote it, but the analysis is really cool and worth checking out. It tells the whole story and what the red shoes symbolize.
Philip from Akron, OhKate's inspiration this song was a movie (which is not unusual for her), Michael Powell's 1948 "The Red Shoes". Later, she met the director, and she wrote about THAT (among other things) in a song, too ("Moments of Pleasure").
Rob from Vancouver, CanadaIsn't this a Hans Christian Anderson fable?