Ballet San Antonio – Beauty and the Beast – KENS 5

Ballet San Antonio is inviting people to be their guests as they bring a tale as old as time to life on stage.

Beauty and the Beast will be performed as a ballet at the Tobin Center October 13-15. The story follows from the prince’s curse turning him into a hideous beast to Belle’s discovery of the Beast’s goodness within. Along the way, other characters join them on their journey to finding true love.

Be Our Guest!

KENS 5 spoke with the guest choreographer for the show and two dancers during a recent rehearsal for the production.


‘The arts are very important’

For this production, Ballet San Antonio is hosting guest choreographer Bruce Wells, who has worked with other ballet companies from around the country to put on his version of Beauty and the Beast. He brought the story to life originally for the Atlanta ballet.

“I created a series of what I call ‘special family matinees.’ They are all two half-hour acts and they tell the story-whatever I am trying to tell-as quickly as possible for a younger audience,” Wells said.

While the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is centuries-old, Wells knows current audiences would most expect to see elements of the Disney cartoon in 1991 and live-action version in 2015.

Credit: KENS 5 – Bruce Wells

“If that is the basic knowledge that the audience has, you are going to fall in that direction. And I did,” Wells said. “This is not a Disney ballet by any stretch of the imagination, but Belle does have a gold dress because that is the expectation.”

Wells hopes the familiarity with the story will help bring in families and audience members who might not have otherwise gone to the ballet.

“I think the arts are very important and in today’s world, we are losing them very, very quickly. For them to be entertained by what I would call an entry-level ballet…. but hopefully to create a younger audience who as they grow up that will appreciate more sophisticated choreography.” Wells said.


‘Such a classic tale’

Principal dancer Brenna Mulligan-Olson is a homegrown prima ballerina, having grown up dancing her whole life here in San Antonio.

She dances the role of the beautiful Belle who eventually warms to the Beast. Mulligan-Olson says she is proud to be part of the production and its unique message.

“I love this production because it has such a classic tale. A tale of redemption, a tale of restoration, just a tale of overcoming the not-so-good-parts of ourselves and being able to see other people for who they can be and their potential,” Mulligan-Olson said.

Credit: KENS 5 – Brenna Mulligan-Olson

For Mulligan-Olson, her life-long passion for ballet began at an early age, when she started to follow in her ballerina mom’s footsteps.

“I grew up in the studio, I would always watch her classes and take classes, putting on her pointe shoes and just walk around holding on to the bar and things like that,” Mulligan-Olson said.

In 2020, she says had to send in a video audition to be in the company of Ballet San Antonio because in-person auditions were cancelled in the pandemic. From there, she put in her dues to work her way up the ladder.

“I’ve worked up the ranks from apprentice about four years ago up to principal to where I am today,” she said.

She says she hopes people of all ages can enjoy the show.

“There’s so much for everyone. I would say just come and enjoy the arts, create memories together and create memories with us, too,” Mulligan Olson said.



‘I have grown up with this story’

Principal dancer Michael Agudelo’s parents were also dancers, and he grew up in dance studios. The South Carolina native has had several lead roles with Ballet San Antonio.

“So I am the Prince/Beast. It’s been really great working with Bruce. So far it’s felts really natural,” Agudelo said.

Already an experienced ballet dancer, Agudelo said he especially enjoys the character work involved in this particular role.

Credit: KENS 5 – Michael Agudelo

“The Beast has shame on how he looks and then he feels good, and everyone has those days where they feel ugly and then they feel beautiful the next day. It’s kind of just…method acting, feeling it,” Agudelo said. “It’s more about what you do than what you look like. The Beast’s actions come through that he is a good person on this inside even though he looks like a Beast.”

He said this role had some unique challenges compared to other roles he has had.

“The Beast has some freak-out moments where he goes back into himself. So, it has been a challenge to be calm…I am trying to be calm and then I go back into the Beast mode and then I go back to being calm and dancing with Belle.”

He says he is proud to bring this special production to the families of San Antonio.

“I have grown up with story, too,” Adugelo said. “But also we make it for more than just a children’s ballet, it is a full piece of art that everyone can enjoy.”

Beauty and Beast will be performed over four shows at the Tobin Center October 13-15.

Ballet San Antonio’s 2023-2024 Season Is Here!

The image is a collage of ballet dancers from the shows that will be in the Ballet San Antonio season this year.

Ballet San Antonio is thrilled to announce its highly anticipated 2023-24 season. This year’s lineup of ballet productions is sure to captivate audiences of all ages! The upcoming season will feature three shows: the timeless tale of Beauty and the Beast, the magical holiday tradition of The Nutcracker, and the world premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Beauty and the Beast

Kicking off the season, Ballet San Antonio presents Beauty and the Beast, featuring choreography by the renowned Bruce Wells. The tale as old as time follows a young prince who is transformed into a fearsome beast. Only true love can break the curse, and local villager, Belle, may hold the key to his salvation. “As a family-friendly show, I hope Beauty and the Beast gives young people an introduction into the world of ballet that inspires a lifelong love for ballet and the arts,” said Wells. Beauty and the Beast will grace the stage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts October 13 – 15, 2023.

The Nutcracker

Continuing the holiday tradition, Ballet San Antonio invites audiences to experience the magic of The Nutcracker. This piece will once again be choreographed by Haley Henderson Smith and Easton Smith. “Every year, we’re challenged with both appealing to a wide audience and bringing something new to the table,” said Henderson Smith. “We hope audiences enjoy the decisions we’ve made to make this year’s performance of The Nutcracker a special one.” This production features a children’s cast of over 100 talented performers from the San Antonio area. It will also be accompanied by the enchanting melodies of the CMI Orchestra. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this magical holiday tradition, with multiple performances throughout December 2023.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Lastly, Ballet San Antonio proudly presents the world premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring captivating choreography by Ballet San Antonio’s own Rafael Ferreras. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s play, this delightful comedy of misunderstandings explores the intertwined love stories of Hermia, Lisandro, Demetrio, Titania, Oberon, Puck, and more.

“Everyone interprets the story in their way. For me, this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream captures the feeling you have when you first wake up in the morning and you’re half awake, in a dream world,” said Ferreras. “It is the first full-length ballet I am choreographing, and we are all very excited.” The much-anticipated performance is scheduled for February 2024.

Interested? Get Tickets

All performances will take place at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in the H-E-B Performance Hall, located at 100 Auditorium Circle, San Antonio, TX 78205. 
2023-24 season subscriptions and memberships are on sale now. Individual tickets for the 2023-24 season may be purchased through the Tobin Center website starting August 1st. To learn more, visit

About Ballet San Antonio

The mission of Ballet San Antonio is to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs that reflect, promote and enrich the cultural heritage of the South Texas community. BSA holds an uncompromising commitment to continually attract and nurture exceptional professional dancers, create distinctive performances, and make dance accessible to the widest possible audiences through partnerships with local organizations. For more information, visit