Inna Bayer is the founder of Bayer Ballet Academy and director of "A Winter Fairy Tale," a spectacle of original Russian fairy tale characters told through ballet.
The story comes to life Friday through Sunday, Dec. 14-16, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Bayer and a former student's mother created the storyline for the dance program about five years ago, and it is now in its fifth year of production.
"A Winter Fairy Tale" was partially inspired by "The Nutcracker" — the snowflakes, flowers and Mother Ginger were elements adapted by Bayer.
The ballet follows a magician who wants to create a fairy tale for children and comes across an old book filled with toys, animals and other fairy tale creatures that come to life.
The story unfolds when the Bat Queen kidnaps a baby bunny in the fairy tale land, and the magical critters embark on a journey, according to Christine Wood, administrative assistant at the academy.
"Good prevails over evil," said Bayer. "It's what we want to believe."
Bayer said she was inspired by parts of her childhood in Russia when she would look out of the frost-covered windows and viewed the pure white landscape, noticing how everything changes in winter.
"Even silence is different," she said.
There are 108 dancers in the ballet and 11 staff members from the academy organizing the production, Bayer said.
She said she knew most of her students well enough that she placed them in their roles without auditions, but some auditions were held for certain main roles.
She noted that being in the production is a serious task in which the students learn new skills. "To dance — it's serious for them," Bayer said. "It is also fun. They enjoy, but they have responsibility."
When the dancers get on stage, all of their hard work and stress is behind them, and that moment on stage is their celebration, Bayer said.
"You can't compare this feeling for anything," she said. "It's like to fly."
Bayer and Wood said the production requires 180 costumes and 550 accessories, including crowns, gloves, scarves and more. Christie Revel, an academy instructor and a former student of Bayer's, said that some costumes are hand-made in Russia and China, and others are made in this country.
Visit bayerballetacademy.com for information about the performances.