Listen to Austin 360 Radio

'Swan Lake' in photos: Ballet Austin prepares Tchaikovsky's beloved classic

Ballet Austin on May 6-8 will stage a Mother's Day production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake." It is one of the Russian composer's most famous works, with a soundtrack so familiar that even novice fans of classical music can hum along. 

The story traces the plight of the swan queen Odette, a beautiful woman who has been bewitched by an evil sorcerer to live as a swan during the day. When Prince Siegfried stumbles across her while hunting under the cover of darkness, he pledges his love to break the spell. But before they can live happily ever after, the sorcerer enchants his daughter Odile to mirror Odette so she can trick the prince into breaking his vow. 

The soul of a star:Austin's music family remembers Daniel Sahad of Nané

The dual role of Odette/Odile, played by a single dancer, is considered one of the most difficult in the classical ballet repertoire. It is both physically daunting — the third act includes a ballroom scene in which Odile executes 32 fouetté turns in rapid succession — and emotionally challenging, as the dancer must embody both characters. 

Two company dancers, Katherine Deuitch and Elise Pekarek, will play the role in alternating performances. To help them prepare, Ballet Austin director Stephen Mills brought back retired dancer Aara Krumpe, who played the role in the company's 2015 production.

Things you should know:Demolition plans could displace about half of Austin's LGBTQ bars

The American-Statesman dropped by a rehearsal for the production at Ballet Austin's Butler Center in late April to capture scenes of the process. Click through the photo gallery with this story to watch the dancers work.

Performances will take place at the Long Center on May 6-8. Tickets and more information are available at balletaustin.org.