Rachel Papo, ‘Three 2nd Class Girls Backstage’, 2007, ClampArt

Desperately Perfect focuses upon students at the renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. From the age of ten until eighteen; twelve hours a day; six days a week; on the barre or in the classroom; students of this school spend the majority of their youth in fierce competition with one another. In their hope for fame, fortune, and a better life, these adolescents strive for a level of perfection that seems always just out of reach.

Rachel Papo, inspired by her own memories of nine years of ballet classes as a child, emphasizes the emotional side of these children’s experience.

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