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Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle - how to open the gate in the Theatre

Solving the Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle is the only way to open the gate in the Theatre, allowing you to take to the main stage and confront Petrov.

Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle: Major P-3, the protagonist of the retrofuturist FPS game, standing at attention.

The Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle comes at the culmination of your time at the Theatre, and serves as the final barrier standing between you and Petrov. Specifically, you must solve it in order to progress past the ‘Ascending the (Gallows) Stage’ objective, which challenges you to find a way to open the gate.

Starring some thematically appropriate shadow puppetry, the Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle is markedly different from the usual brand of puzzles you’ll come across in the FPS game, and its environmental signposting can easily go overlooked. Here’s how to solve it and progress through Facility 3826, where more Atomic Heart bosses await.

How to open the gate in the Theatre

Unlike the other ballerinas you can interact with throughout the Theatre, the ballerinas in this particular corridor are set to debug mode, allowing you to manipulate them into a variety of ballet positions through dialogue options. When doing so, you might hear Petrov inviting you to ‘paint pictures of the future’ – the only hint the RPG game will offer in this instance.

In order to solve the Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle, you must recreate the deaths of the suspended personnel by positioning the ballerinas in such a way that the shadows they cast on the wall behind them appear to land the killing blow. Once you’ve successfully manipulated one ballerina, you’ll receive the ‘Art is Sacrifice’ objective.

Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle: The synthetic ballerina poses in a ballet position as a corpse hangs suspended above her, their shadows giving the illusion that she's the cause of his death on the blood-spattered wall behind them.

Here are the correct Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle positions, starting from the corridor’s entrance:

  • Croisée in the fifth position, arms in the third position
  • Relevé in the fifth position. Effacé. Arms upright and loose in an allongé.
  • Attitude
  • A la seconde, arms free

Once you’ve arranged the Atomic Heart ballerina puzzle to Petrov’s liking, the gate will open, allowing you to proceed onto the main stage. While you’re enjoying the show Petrov has put on for you, be sure to take a look at the best Atomic Heart weapons and skills you should prioritise crafting. Alternatively, if you’re looking for love in Facility 3826, our Atomic Heart romance guide might well make or break your heart. Finally, check out our list of the best PC games if you want something else to play.

Developer Mundfish has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after it was alleged that the Russian government stands to gain financially from the release of Atomic Heart. This is due to the fact that investors involved in financing Mundfish include GEM Capital, an investment fund whose founder has ties to Gazprom and VTB Bank, both of which are majority-owned by the Russian state.

Further, Mundfish is partnering with VK (formerly Mail.RU) for the Russian release of Atomic Heart, evading sanctions on Steam. VK is also majority-owned by the Russian state through Gazprombank, and Mundfish’s CEO is a former Creative Director at Mail.RU.

With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many players are choosing to boycott the game in protest and donate money to organisations like The Ukraine Crisis Appeal, International Rescue Committee, and the British Red Cross.