Japan’s Perplexing Relationship with Ballet

Japan is crazy about ballet. The country has around 15,000 studios, more than 100 competitions and an annual World Ballet Festival with a gala to top all galas. For years now, Japanese dancers have dominated international ballet competitions. More and more are being invited to join the ranks of top companies around the world. And yet, in Japan, corps de ballet members are paid virtually nothing; they reportedly support themselves by selling tickets to secure bigger roles. A fascinating article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week looks at the perplexing enigma of Japanese ballet. What do you make of it? How might Japanese dancers be able to make better lives for themselves—without abandoning their passion—in their own country?

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