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Tajik Ballet Tattered but Proud

In Soviet times, Tajikistan used to be famous for its ballet troupe, but now those dancers who have not emigrated are fighting an uphill battle to maintain standards.
Reporter Ismatullo Azizzoda says one reason why the national ballet company has gone into decline is that the powers that be are not too keen on things that not regarded as indigenous Tajik art forms.

Veteran dancer Alexander Bahman says the situation is “catastrophic” – there isn’t the money to buy new costumes and the dancers have to rehearse in their own clothes.

There are so few dancers that they have to play several roles in each performance, and Bahman says he has even had to play a female role as best he could.

Producers have to design ballet performances around the small number of dancers they have available.

The main opera and ballet house is now into its fourth year of refurbishment, but it is hoped the work will be completed some time soon.

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