Russians sure know how to bum an audience out. You've got your Tolstoy, who kind of argued that happiness isn't an attainable thing, your Dostoyevsky, who kind of invented existentialism in literature, your Tchaikovsky, who created some triumphant and beautiful works but, being from Russia, led a kind of sad life, despite his success. One of the latter's most memorable works is his score to Swan Lake, which, no surprise here, is a pretty sad ballet endeavor.

Based on (here we go again) Russian folk tales, Swan Lake tells the story of a flighty prince and a woman under an evil spell that, Animorphs-style, makes her a swan by day and a pretty lady by night. As with all good fairy tales, there's a way to break the evil spell, and it requires a proclamation of undying love. The prince falls for the part-time swan, but can he resist her lookalike? Take a guess, or rather a gander as Ballet Arizona presents the classic work for the first time since 2009.

As the company's season première, Swan Lake opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Performances continue through Sunday, November 2. Tickets are $25 and up via or 602-381-1096.

Thu., Oct. 30, 7 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 1, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 2, 1 & 5:30 p.m., 2014
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski