At the Ballet

Ballet Austin Presents

Peter and the Wolf

featuring Ballet Austin II

Experience an interactive balletic version of this famous Russian children's tale. Join Ballet Austin as the youngest members of the audience help Peter and his animal friends triumph over the danger in his own back yard. Recommended for ages 3-8.

Choreography by Stephen MillsGet Tickets
Music by Sergei Prokofiev

AustinVentures StudioTheater
Oct 19 & 20, 26 & 27 | 2pm & 4:30 pm


Peter and the Wolf
The Playful Russian Folk Tale

Experience an interactive balletic version of this famous Russian children's tale. Join Ballet Austin as the youngest members of the audience help Peter and his animal friends triumph over the danger in his own back yard.

Each performance will begin with a fun activity, during which the audience helps one of the characters choreograph a solo. Recommended for ages 3 - 8.

Program Notes


Peter is at his grandfather's home in a forest clearing. One day Peter goes out into the clearing, leaving the garden gate open. The Duck, who lives in the yard, decides to go swimming on the nearby pond and encounters Peter's friend, the Bird, along the way. The neighborhood Cat sneaks up on them, and the Bird – warned by Peter – flies into a tall tree, while the Duck swims to safety in the middle of the pond.

Grandfather scolds Peter for being outside in the meadow, warning him about wolves in the forest. When Peter argues with him, Grandfather takes him back into the house and locks the gate. Shortly afterwards, a Wolf does indeed come out of the woods. The Cat quickly climbs into the tree, but the Duck is chased, overtaken, and gulped down by the Wolf.

Peter fetches a rope and climbs over the garden wall into the tree. He asks the Bird to fly around the Wolf's head to distract him while he lowers a noose and catches the Wolf by his tail.

Hunters who have been tracking the Wolf come out of the forest, but Peter convinces them not to shoot. Instead, he leads a victory parade, escorting the Wolf to a zoo with the help of the Hunters, his friends, and Grandfather.


In 1936, Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned by the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow to write a new musical symphony for children. The intent was to cultivate musical tastes in children from the first years of school.

Intrigued by the invitation, Prokofiev completed Peter and the Wolf in just four days. The debut on May 2, 1936, was inauspicious, at best. In the composer’s words, "[Attendance] was poor and failed to attract much attention." He could scarcely have foreseen quite how successful his playful classic would become or how consistently it would delight and inspire children and adults of all ages for years to come.

Several other ballet productions of Peter and the Wolf include:
  • The Royal Ballet School’s 1997 film version
  • The Kiev Classical Ballet, 1997
  • Washington Ballet Studio Company, 2008
  • City Ballet of Los Angeles’ Peter and the Wolf Jump Cool, a slick 1960s rendition, 2009

Artistic Director Stephen Mills choreographed his version of Peter and the Wolf in 1992 for Ballet Austin’s apprentice company, Ballet Austin II. The ballet is performed for children biennially at Ballet Austin’s AustinVentures StudioTheater.


Ballet Austin's production features a 1996 audio recording of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tony D'Amato and Antal Dorati, and narrated by actor Sean Connery.

In addition to Sean Connery's narration, the Peter and the Wolf story is propelled by specific musical themes. Each character in Peter and the Wolf is represented by a specific instrument or group of instruments:

Peter - String Instruments (Violin, Viola, String Bass, Cello)
Wolf - French Horn
Grandfather - Bassoon
Bird - Flute
Duck - Oboe
Cat - Clarinet
Hunters - Woodwind Instruments
Gunshots - Percussion (Timpani and Bass drum)

The use of all four instrument families (Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion) provides dramatic contrast in the score.


Costume Designer Emily Cavasar created the unique costumes for Peter and the Wolf in 2009.


Cast & Credits


Peter / Kevin Murdock-Waters
Bird / Nicole Voris & Tanya Garcia
Duck / Rosie Grady Sayvetz
Cat / Cassia Wilson
Grandfather / Ashton Plummer
Wolf / Danielle Ehoff
Huntresses / Natasha Carl, Towa Shinagawa & Rayleigh Vendt


Choreography by Stephen Mills
Performed by Ballet Austin II
Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Costume Design by Emily Cavasar (based on original concept by Chip Seibert)
Lighting Design by Bill Sheffield
Stage Manager - Steven Myers

Artist Profiles

Stephen Mills, Choreographer
Stephen Mills is an accomplished choreographer in both classical and contemporary balletic styles. In 1991, Mills created the charming ballet Peter and the Wolf. It's notable that even though Mills was a relatively young choreographer at the time (the ballet was only Mills' fifth piece of choreography), the ballet is sophisticated in design and engages audience members of all ages. Mills' other notable project for children is Not Afraid of the Dark - The Show that Glows!, an inventive collaboration with musician Joe Scruggs. Mills was named Resident Choreographer of Ballet Austin in 1992 and has been Artistic Director since 2000.

Sergei Prokofiev, Composer
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) is admired as one of the most masterful composers of the 20th century. Prokofiev wrote his first composition when he was six years old, completing a three-act opera by age nine.

In 1936, Prokofiev created the children's symphony, Peter and the Wolf, for the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow. To this day, the work is well known and well loved by children and adults alike.

He began to compose music for ballets in 1915 and continued to do so until his death in 1953. Although Prokofiev regarded his ballets to be of secondary importance to his operas, his ballet music received much more acclaim than his operas ever did. For the famous ballet company, the Ballet Russes, Prokofiev created the score for Prodigal Son, with choreography by the young George Balanchine in 1929. In 1940, Prokofiev created the haunting score for Romeo and Juliet; in 2001, Stephen Mills used this score to create his ballet production of the same name. Other successful ballet scores include Cinderella (1945) and The Tale of the Stone Flower (1954).

Prokofiev died on March 5, 1953, the same day Joseph Stalin died.

Ballet Austin II
Established in 1999, Ballet Austin II is Ballet Austin's apprentice program and second company. The 10 apprentices, ranging in age from 18-23, are recruited through a competitive national audition process. They perform with the main company in large productions and present at least two independent projects per year, including biennial performances of Stephen Mills' Peter and the Wolf and Not Afraid of the Dark - The Show that Glows! in collaboration with Joe Scruggs. Choreographers currently represented in the Ballet Austin II repertoire include Stephen Mills, Jennifer Hart, and Nick Kepley, as well as New American Talent/Dance choreographic competition winners Thang Dao, Thaddeus Davis, Viktor Kabaniaev, and Nelly van Bommel.

Currently, more than 65% of Ballet Austin's main company roster are graduates of Ballet Austin II. Former Ballet Austin II dancers have also joined the ranks of both ballet and modern dance companies, including Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Washington Ballet, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Ballet Met, Kansas City Ballet, Kim Robards Dance Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Wideman/Davis Dance, and Thang Dao Dance.

Director's Notes



Family Dance Workshop – Peter and the Wolf
Sun Oct 13, 2:30 – 3:45pm
Ballet Austin’s AustinVentures StudioTheater

See excerpts from the classic children’s tale Peter and the Wolf, and explore how animals and other characters are created through dance. Then create your own choreography with the help of Ballet Austin dancers. Recommended for ages 3 to 10 years old and their family members. Learn more or register.

Get TicketsAustinVentures StudioTheater
Oct 19 & 20, 26 & 27
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