Japanese youth learn Russian ballet

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A Japanese dancer who left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine teaches ballet to young Japanese in Tokyo.

Fukuda Kohei, a dancer from the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, held a ballet lesson in the capital’s Meguro district on Saturday. Twenty-two children between the ages of 10 and 15 learned from Fukuda and a Russian dancer from the same theatre.

Some of the children had learned ballet in Russia before the invasion of Ukraine, and some still hope to go to Russia to study it.

The Saturday lesson included exercises on performance techniques for groups and individuals.

Nakada Kokoro, a 12-year-old from Gifu Prefecture, said the lesson was difficult but meaningful. She said it was a shame that her plan to study in Russia was blocked. She also said that she hoped to be able to go there one day.

Maejima Anna, also 12, was studying in Russia before the invasion. She said she continues to practice and hopes to return to Russia to take more classes.

Fukuda said that historically, Russian dancers who fled the country due to revolution or war continued to introduce Russian ballet to the world. He said he hopes the children hold on to their dreams and never give up.

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