Big Issue Ballet in Korea

Muscles tensed from the cold, backs hunched against bracing winds, the constant anxiety of survival. Time spent living on the streets takes its toll on both body and soul, however vendors of The Big Issue Korea edition have found relief in an unlikely place: ballet.

For almost two years now, vendors have attended weekly classes run in partnership with the Seoul Ballet. The gentle music and graceful movements help to soothe vendors both physically and mentally, as well as building their confidence.

“When I first met them, they avoided direct eye contact and were quite huddled up.” Says James Jeon, Artistic Director of the program, “But ballet has helped them perceive how different parts of their bodies move and how they can find balance… This has led them to value themselves more.”

Since the classes began in 2011, many of the vendors involved have succeeded in getting off the streets and moving into stable housing.