The studio lights gleam brightly, yet an aura of darkness pervades.

Edward Carr (Beast) and Michelle Thompson (Belle) in “Belle Redux: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast.” Contributed by Tony Spielberg

Pairs of dancers in rehearsal togs curl, loop and tangle around each other. They mirror each other’s movements, often in distorted, unsettlingly beautiful ways. Everywhere in the music, in the action, in the faces of the performers, one registers a sense of foreboding.

Stephen Mills is never far from the essential flesh and blood of a ballet.

“Dance, to me, is about life,” says Ballet Austin’s artistic director. “And life is about love and death and sex. These are the things that are interesting in life. How you come into the world; how you live in the world; and how you leave the world.”

All these elements are abundantly on display during a practice for the second iteration of “Belle Redux: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast,” to be revived Friday through Sunday at the Long Center.

Although Mills has ushered more than 50 new dances into the world — and many of those have taken on lives of their own in subsequent stagings — he finds “Belle Redux” among the most haunting.

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Here’s a peek at piece on Ballet Austin’s “Belle Redux.”