Revolutionary Petrograd. A lesson in classic dance in the ballet class of the former imperial theater. The strict and eccentric Teacher picks out from all the dancers one whose perfect dancing and slightly mysterious image embody his ideal of beauty.
At the theater sparkling with gilt, the Ballerina’s performance delights the audience. Among her admirers is a Chekist, from the secret police, a representative of the new regime. It is not only her art that attracts him. The Chekist’s crude violence and powerful embraces force the Ballerina to his will.
The Chekist brings the Ballerina into his world, unknown to her, where the wild rampage of the revolutionary mob turns into a mad festival of destruction. She reigns over this festival, forgetting the tenets of her Teacher. However the spiritual values he had instilled in her are stronger than the intoxication of power. The Ballerina returns to the ballet class to the Teacher.
A new, cruel and aggressive regime now reigns in the theater, leveling everything in its path. The white ballerinas must become the obedient weapon of the unjust red idea. The Teacher is in despair. The reality is unbearable, but he can change nothing.
The Ballerina and the Chekist are bound their relationship. It is filled with attraction and repulsion, passion and misunderstanding.
The Chekist allows the Ballerina to join the émigrés who are leaving Russia forever.Act II
Ballet class at the Grand Opera de Paris. A Famous dancer and choreographer leads the rehearsal. The movements he suggests are unfamiliar to the Ballerina, but the dance creator’s inspired talent leads her on. The dancer becomes her Partner, and triumphant success awaits them.
Her feelings for the Partner are not returned. Unrequited love and loneliness is an alien world push the Ballerina toward a nervous breakdown.
She tries to lose herself in the merriment of Paris. But the ghosts of the past pursue her here, as well. The red flashbacks of the revolution, appearing as the Chekist in nightmarish inundation, do not give her peace.
Nor can she forget herself in her favorite role as Giselle, in which the Ballerina always stunned the audiences and won world fame. Giselle’s fate – betrayal by her beloved and eventual madness – awaits her, too. Mirrors reflect the morbid consciousness of the Ballerina. Madness seems to hold salvation, in the world beckoning from the other side of the mirror.