Three student dancers were arrested for refusing to give up their rehearsal floor to ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The State of Alabama Ballet, which presented a $50-a-ticket benefit featuring Baryshnikov Monday night, had asked University of Alabama-Birmingham officials for a linoleum dance floor for Baryshnikov to practice on.

Baryshnikov had said he wasn't pleased with the floor at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Civic Center.

Dance students at UAB were in the middle of class when officials came to borrow the floor. Campus police arrested three students -- Susan Holcomb, 25; Marti Milan, 23, and Tony Noa -- when they sat on the floor rather than give it up.

J.R. Houpt, the operations commander of the campus police, said "They were sitting on the ballet mat when, what do you call him, Baryshnikov, said he wanted to dance." Houpt said that 27 students were practicing, and "some of the others were vocal but not as vocal as the three. We had to physically pick them up and remove them."

The three were charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest and were released. A Feb. 2 court date was set.

The students said they were outraged because they needed the floor to practice for a performance Thursday at Livingston University.

"This is the last straw," said Milan, a 90-pound ballerina. "When UAB did this they sank to their lowest depths. This is the final indignation."

UAB ballet students have been angry since the troupe was merged with the Birmingham Ballet and Alabama School of Fine Arts last fall. Many of the UAB dance students protested the merger, saying it would hurt their education.