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Misty Copeland and James Whiteside in Swan Lake (photo by Gene Schiavone)

The dual part of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake is THE role, the one every trina dreams of from the moment she first dons a leotard. It's also insanely difficult to perform, challenging even the most elite ballerinas with its multifaceted demands.

So what's it actually like to dance Odette/Odile? A new short film from American Ballet Theatre goes behind the scenes with three Swan Queens—principals Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston and soloist Devon Teuscher—to find out.

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In this episode, we get to see what really goes into dancing a full-length story ballet. And Swan Lake is no ordinary ballet, especially for the lucky dancers chosen to perform the coveted role of Odette/Odile. Even just watching these ballerinas rehearse is exhausting—but it's also breathtaking.

FUN FACT: New York City Ballet only did six performances of Swan Lake. But since the lead role of Odette/Odile is so taxing (she dances for over an hour of the 2.5-hour ballet), it's shared by three principal ballerinas, Sara Mearns, Ashley Bouder and Theresa Reichlen.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Most people in the audience watch from the waist up, especially in a role like this...with so much acting. Where your eyes are. That will do it all for the audience. That will make them cry at the end. And that's kind of what we're going for. I want tears." —Sara Mearns, NYCB principal

Watch every episode now or join in on my one-episode-per-week challenge at dancemagazine.com (Click “Related” in the upper right hand corner of the video to navigate between episodes.)

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