The lives of young artists are filled with agony and ecstasy, unavoidable injuries, intrigues, victories at ballet competitions, the part of the third armour-bearer at a matinee for kids, or that of Odette and Odile. There will be dreams of coveted roles and the everyday routine of ballet practice, important tours and agonising waits for new roles in long queues alongside their colleagues. They will crave the applause of the audience and retire at 40 with a miserable ballet pension. But if you’re really lucky, the ugly duckling will one day turn into a magnificent swan; the symbol of Russian ballet.Mikhail Mordasov / Focus Pictures
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