410 students between the ages of 6 and 29 take free dance classes in Manguinhos, a favela in the north of Rio, while another 700, the vast majority of them girls, are on the waiting list.
In this neighbourhood that lives under the yoke of drug trafficking and where classes are regularly interrupted by gunfights during police operations, the Ballet Manguinhos association is a kind of oasis.
But its continuity is under threat. The pandemic left its mark, with the tragic death from covid-19 of the association's founder, Daiana Ferreira, in January 2021.
Months later, it suffered another blow: the three-year funding contract with the US philanthropic foundation The Secular Society (TSS) ended, as planned, and Ballet Manguinhos was left without a major source of income.