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Russia’s Bolshoi Theater goes online as coronavirus curbs public life

The Bolshoi, which closed on March 17 until April 10, joins a string of other Russian theaters, opera houses and museums that have turned to online streaming to satisfy Russians’ cultural needs during the coronavirus lockdown.

Russia has so far recorded 1,036 cases of the virus and five related deaths, and has stepped up measures to curb its spread. This weekend Moscow will shutter all cafes, restaurants and shops apart from those selling food and medicine.

The Bolshoi’s ballet dancers are having to get used to training and keeping in shape at home.

“Of course it’s a very difficult time for us,” Denis Rodkin, a principal dancer, told Reuters on Friday. “We really depend on our profession… I hope that this will not last long and everything will be up and running again soon.”

In the meantime, Rodkin said, the performances streamed online might help keep people’s spirits up while they are confined to their homes.

“Art, and the Bolshoi Theater’s broadcasts in particular, support people in these difficult conditions,” he said. “They will be inspired, recharged with art, and all this will end.”

Ballet soloist Ksenia Zhiganshina also put a brave face on the enforced closure of the theater and its impact on the dancers.

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