Boston Ballet’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler

Boston Ballet is beginning its 2015-2016 season with a work that's stretching the boundaries of athleticism and choreography.

With strength and powerful music, 70 dancers are taking the stage to bring an iconic work to life.

"We push the boundaries in many different directions. We've never done a work like this," said artistic director Mikko Nissinen.

The Boston Ballet is the first North American company to perform "Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier."

"It is a ballet that is not meant to be understand. It's a ballet that is meant to be experienced," Nissinen said. "It's a journey into your own soul with this beautiful blanket, one of the most amazing symphonies ever written, Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony."

"There's just so many levels to Mahler's third," said Lia Cirio, female principal dancer. "With Neumeier's choreography, it's even more enhanced and highlighted."

The ballet is performed without an intermission, an especially big challenge for the male dancers. They've spent hours cross training outside of studio rehearsals to prepare for the all-men first movement, which is 35 minutes long.

"To hold another body on top of you and all of that, it's a different world," male second soloist Irlan Silva said. "We have to go to the gym and work out, you know."

The performance features an expanded live orchestra, 20 chorus members, and hundreds of costumes.

The massive production is giving dancers the chance to show audiences ballet in its most physical form.

"I can't wait to go on stage and bring everything alive," said Silva.

"I'm the happiest when i see the audiences have this eureka moment, something they haven't seen but they relate to," Nissinen said. "It gives us so much life. I'm really looking forward to that."

"Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler" runs through Nov. 1 at the Boston Opera House. For information on tickets and show times, click here.

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