Watch ballet’s best dancers perform live for ‘World Ballet Day’ (VIDEO)

Need a break from all the politics and social media? Today’s livestream, put on by the world’s five leading ballet companies, will capture your heart, one pirouette at a time.

Dancers of the Australian Ballet perform on stage during the dress rehearsal of "Swan Lake" on their 25th international tour at London Coliseum on July 2016 in London. Ian Gavan | Getty Images

We think of ballet (when we think of ballet at all), as the province of tiny, delicate creatures who seem to subsist on not much more than diet soda and air. And we might imagine their audiences wearing elbow length gloves, sat in velvet seats. But ballet is a tremendous and often under-appreciated art form that encourages strength, femininity, and grace—and it is more accessible than you might think.

In fact, many ballet companies want you to know that enjoying ballet is not just for people who can afford balcony seats in a big city theater—which is why five leading ballet companies from around the world have come together to live-stream their performances today, all day, for free, in celebration of World Ballet Day. If you’ve been a little too addicted to sitcoms and Facebook lately, consider this an opportunity for a cultural “palate-cleanser.”

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If you’ve never been to a live performance, today’s streaming video is a wonderful introduction to the artform: you’ll see that ballerinas are fiercely feminine, gracefully athletic, and movingly artistic. These women (and men!) are strong and agile artists who move with confidence and intention—a confidence that serves them not just for the stage, but for life (just look at the way the ever-gracious and assured Misty Copeland lives off stage).

And even for those lucky enough to see a performance every once in a while, being able to take a few peaceful minutes to watch from home today is a nice reminder of why we love ballet: it simultaneously transports us to a quiet place of strength and a magical place of elegance. It’s why we dreamed of being dancers as little girls and why we shuffle our daughters to dance class every week. Ballet captures our hearts not only for its beauty but its power and poise.

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Watch the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, and the San Francisco Ballet practice at or on Facebook Live. Even if you only have a couple of minutes to watch the production, these artists will wow you. The livestream will last a full 20 hours, but never fear, if you miss it, there’s a 2015 video archive available for your viewing pleasure, too.

Want to see more?

If you’re so inspired, book tickets to the New York City Ballet’s production of Firebird, a Russian Fairytale with dreamy costumes and sets by Marc Chagall, which opens on October 11. Or get a jump on your holiday plans by booking early for a Nutcracker performance in your area.

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