When people think of Brazil and dancing, images of samba and forró come to mind. But what about something more classical, like ballet? In the city of Joinville, in northern Santa Catarina, one can find the only foreign dance school to carry the name Bolshoi (meaning “large” or “grand” in Russian). It was born from the famous Bolshoi Theater, Ballet and Ballet Academy in Moscow and has been in operation in Brazil since the year 2000.
Every year since then, in the month of October, many young Brazilians try out for a spot at the school and around 300 are selected for the program. Roughly two-hundred of them will come from lower-income families and will receive everything they need (tuition, room & board, and health benefits) for free. According to the official site, “the School is more than just an institution offering a dance education of the highest standard it is also a project of social orientation aimed at taking children and adolescents out of the vicious circle of underprivileged regions.”
In their almost-fourteen years of existence, a whopping 71% of all graduates go on to be hired by some of the largest ballet companies in the world.