The audience at Tajikistan's state ballet production of the Snow Queen could be forgiven for thinking there was something odd about the lead ballerina.
Alexander Bakhman has had to learn new techniques for the role
The dancer playing the role of fabled queen is in fact a man.
According to staff at the Sadriddin Ayni theatre in Dushanbe, where the production is being staged, there were no women available who could dance the part.
"The role of the Snow Queen is very
difficult and not one of our ballerinas could manage it," a theatre employee told Reuters news agency.
So Alexander Bakhman stepped into the title role in the famous ballet, which is based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson.
Mr Bakhman has had to learn how to dance on pointe shoes, which is usually the preserve of female dancers.
But theatre bosses have reportedly excused him from wearing a tutu.