333 Ballet Dancers Set a Record

Good morning. Happy to be back after vacation. Today we’ll look at how 333 ballet dancers spent a minute breaking a record that had stood for five years. We’ll also get details on the arrests of pro-Palestinian activists at Columbia University.

Credit…Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Larissa Saveliev was working the phone like a commander redeploying troops. She wanted a platoon’s worth of young, able-bodied people sent to where she was, pronto.

She was calling for ballet dancers, not soldiers.

Saveliev, the founder of Youth America Grand Prix, which she describes as the world’s largest student ballet scholarship organization, had organized a stunt: capturing the record for the most ballet dancers on point at the same time. She needed at least 307 to beat the mark set in 2019.

But only about 290 dancers had shown up.

So Saveliev put out calls while the dancers on hand, some as young as 8, lined up in a ballroom-size space at the Plaza Hotel and waited. A sea of tutus rippled and fluttered as they practiced pliés or put their arms over their heads and moved into what is known as the fifth position.

Some talked about appearing in “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake,” or hoping to. Some talked about the reason they were there, which was to be recognized by Guinness World Records for the “most dancers ‘en pointe’ simultaneously.” Bianca Vezzali, 12, from San Diego, called it “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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