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'It's a 9 to 5 job that's not so normal' | Ballet Austin company members prepare for final show of the season

Ballet Austin will hold for its final performance of the 2022-23 season on May 13.

AUSTIN, Texas — Ballet Austin is gearing up for its final show of the 2022-23 season. Next weekend, the company's dancers will take the stage to perform "Cinderella" at the Long Center for Performing Arts.

Behind all the costumes and stage magic are days and hours of excruciating work that goes into making each step look perfect.

"It's exhausting, but it's fun,” said Chelsea Renner, a Ballet Austin company member and the lead for "Cinderella."

Renner brings a whole bag of pointe shoes to the studio each day. She rotates wearing four different pairs every day, so they don't wear out. By the final show, she will have gone through 15 pairs.

"I always tell people it's a 9 to 5 job that's not so normal,” Renner said.

The company will have spent over 120 hours in rehearsals before the dancers even get to the theater. 

Ballet Austin’s Artistic Director Stephen Mills has been with the company for 25 years. "Cinderella" was the first full-length ballet he put together.

"Thinking about all the all the different dancers who have brought the work to life, it's always really nice to revisit a work,” Mills said.

Renner has been in "Cinderella" before, but this year is the first time she will be dancing the lead role.

"It's been a dream come true for, you know, a lack of words,” Renner said. “I think it's every little girl's dream to either be a ballerina or a princess, and this is both.”

She is trying to soak in this whole experience. 

“I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it because when it's over, it's over,” Renner said.

Renner's favorite part is the final bow when she can hear what the ballet meant to the audience.

"Being able to share this art form and how much I love it and the joy of it with other people is, I mean, it's a feeling that is indescribable,” Renner said.

It’s a feeling no dancer ever forgets.

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