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caption: Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps de ballet dancers in George Balanchine's 'Nutcracker.'
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Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps de ballet dancers in George Balanchine's 'Nutcracker.'
Credit: Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet/Angela Sterling

Seattle's hardest working dancers you've never heard of

Rock stars have back up bands.

Most Broadway musicals have a chorus.

The ballet version of these supporting artists is the corps de ballet; "corps" is French for body.

The corps dancers appear in the big story ballets like "Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake." They create the context for the dramatic action, or the mood of a particular scene.

Dancers in the corps de ballet have to match each other perfectly; the irony is, to get a coveted promotion out of the corps, they need to stand out from the very dancers they need to blend in with.

KUOW's Arts and Culture reporter paid a visit to Pacific Northwest Ballet to learn more about these hard working, and often unsung, dancers.

Correction 9/22/2016: A previous version of the audio incorrectly stated dancer Emma Love Suddarth's age. She is currently 27 years old.