Pacific Northwest Ballet

Photo by Lindsay Thomas

The ballet “Apollo” features four dancers in a story about the Greek god of music and three muses.

It was a signature role for Peter Boal when he was a dancer with New York City Ballet.

Now he's staging the ballet at Pacific Northwest Ballet, the first time since taking over as artistic director in 2005. And Boal is teaching the ballet to four male dancers who'll be dancing the role for the first time.

He says he's been waiting all these years for the right time as well as the right dancers.

Photo by Angela Sterling

Stephen Manes has been a TV writer, a children's author and a personal technology columnist for national publications. He's also co-authored a book about Bill Gates.

But he was a total outsider when it came to ballet.

He'd been a patron of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. But it wasn't until a behind-the-scenes tour of the company for donors got him thinking: How much do pointe shoes cost? What's it take to mount a season? What's it like to be an artistic director, a dancer, a dance student, a stager, a costumer or a member of the orchestra?

La Vie Photography

On this morning, Olivier Wevers is playing the role of costume manager, digging into a plastic bag and pulling out a pair of casual tank tops to give to his dancers.

Chris Bennion / ACT

There's about 180 roles in Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker. There’s also some engaging props like a Christmas tree that grows right before your eyes, and one enormous rat with a twitching tale.

But the snow scene – the first time Clara dances with her Nutcracker-turned Prince is the sight to behold.

The couple dance in the moonlight, surrounded by ballerina snowflakes dressed in pale blue skirts. A dusting of snow falls throughout the scene.