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The corps of the Paris Opéra Ballet perform the Kingdom of the Shades scene from La Bayadère. Little Shao, Courtesy POB

A Year Into the Pandemic, What Is the Future of the Corps de Ballet? Here's Why It Matters.

Occasionally, in my dreams, I relive the entrance of the Shades from La Bayadère. From the quiet, hypnotic buildup of arabesques snaking down the stage to the prayerlike moment when the entire corps de ballet freezes in a front tendu, arms crossed and eyes turned upwards, it is where my mind goes for rest and contemplation, more so than any extraordinary variation.

A year into the pandemic, large-scale ensembles are also what I've missed the most on the ballet stage. As COVID safety protocols prevented dancers in many countries from gathering in large groups, when companies were able to deliver livestreams or performances with limited audiences, they have favored gala-style excerpts and smaller works—leaving aside a core strength of the classical repertoire.

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Lucas Chilczuk

Inside Ballet Hispánico Dancer Dandara Veiga's Dance Bag

At Ballet Hispánico, Dandara Veiga has to be part dancer, part chameleon. As she goes about an average day as an artist with the company, she shifts from ballet repertoire to contemporary works—and the contents of her dance bag help her ease from one style to the next.

"The way I move changes a lot when I change my hair or my clothes," she says. The Brazilian-born Veiga often switches up both completely as she works through her day, and doing so helps her to transition seamlessly through Ballet Hispánico's varied repertoire. And while the more casual styles put her a little out of her comfort zone—Dandara trained for some time at a strict ballet conservatory in Portugal—she's learning to enjoy it. "I don't do anything crazy, but I like to play a little. It's fun!"

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A screenshot from Cloud & Victory's "Stop Asian Hate" statement video. Courtesy Tan Li Min

With the Help of Social Media, the Asian Ballet Community Is Speaking Out Against Anti-Asian Violence

Amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes around the world, Singapore-based dancewear company Cloud & Victory posted a video on March 18 calling for a stop to the hate against the Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It features prominent Asian dancers and allies, including former professional dancer Miko Fogarty, The Joffrey Ballet's Jeraldine Mendoza and Boston Ballet's Lia Cirio and Paulina Waski.

The video is part of a larger movement of dancers who have been using social media as a platform for activism.

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Photo by Leslie Shampaine

In India, Interest in Classical Ballet Training Is on the Rise

Western classical ballet is still a very unfamiliar art form in India. But in the last few years, promising talent has begun emerging, often in dancers from disadvantaged or working-class families with no prior association with Western classical music or dance.

In the absence of live ballet performances, the entry point for most aspirants has been film, notably Bollywood, or an initial interest in other dance styles.

Kamal Singh, currently in his early 20s and from the outskirts of Delhi, is the son of a rickshaw driver. A ballet sequence in the 2013 Bollywood movie ABCD: Any Body Can Dance led him to train with a ballet instructor in Delhi, and three years later, he is studying further at the English National Ballet School.

But the bigger hub for many ballet newcomers has been Mumbai, India's "City of Dreams," known for its thriving film industry.

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