What Is it Like to Dance in Kyrgyzstan?

March 28, 2017

Built in 1955, the Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet has long been a symbol of Kyrgyzstan’s cultural radiance abroad. Under the USSR regime, Moscow put particular effort into developing dance in the area, through the non-negotiable funding of a national dance school.

In time, Kyrgyzstan became the best dance training center in Central Asia, forming many dancers who went on to have international careers. At its peak, the Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet provided daily performances, and toured throughout the USSR.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, central funding stopped. Although the school still thrives, the company struggles with corruption, creative inertia and an organizational structure inherited from the Soviet era.

Today, young dancers and choreographers cling to the idea of bringing the Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet back to its past grandeur.

Young girls training at the Kyrgyz National Dance School

Rehearsal on the Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet stage

Musicians rest backstage before the start of a show

An onstage rehearsal

A Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet dancer practices on her own in the studio

Students stretch before class.

A company dancer gives herself a barre backstage before a dress rehearsal

The Kyrgyz National Opera Ballet’s theater

Company dancers stretch before class

A Kyrgyz dancer at an international competition in Kazakhstan