Ballet a la Russe (E2): What happens to shows when their lead dancers fall ill.

This episode is all about the unforeseen circumstances and accidents that make ballet dancers and their directors think on their feet. What happens when a dancer breaks a leg or falls ill on the eve of a performance?

Arutyun Akopyan is one of the Russian Ballet’s principal dancers. Unfortunately, he broke his foot while on holiday. Now he needs to be urgently replaced by another dancer. While the whole team waits to see whether his replacement will do the dance justice, Arutyun must go to hospital for an operation. His injury turns out to be more serious than he thought. Now it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to dance professionally again.

Related: The Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet auditions young dancers

Meanwhile, his colleagues – prima ballerina, Anna, and her boyfriend, Vladimir – rehearse a contemporary dance. After they have practised it to perfection, Anna falls ill right before the performance. An ambulance has to be called to take her to hospital, and there is no time to find a replacement. As all the tickets for her performance have been sold, her director makes a decision to stage a different show. But will an audience who came to see modern dance stay for a classic children’s ballet? The dancers have no option but to take a gamble.

Watch this series in Russian