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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Young dancers performing to Afro-Brazilian music put on an energetic show Saturday to close out an educational visit by representatives from London's Royal Opera House and its Royal Ballet company.

The show at the Afro-Reggae cultural center in the Vigario Geral shantytown impressed Royal Opera chief executive Tony Hall as well as the London ballet troupe's principal dancer, Roberta Marquez, herself a native of Rio.

`'I'm very proud to be Brazilian right now. It's a beautiful project and I get very emotional to see those little kids doing ballet," Marquez said after watching a ballet turn by 20 girls in green tutus. `'It's a wonderful feeling," she added.

This past week, Marquez and other Royal Ballet dancers and teachers shared their knowledge and advice with promising artists during a symposium put on by the company and Afro Reggae.

Educators from both organizations exchanged ideas on how arts can influence child development and self-esteem, helping keep youngsters off the streets and away from a life of crime.

`'I profoundly believe in how arts and culture and music and dance can have a profound effect, I mean a profound effect, on people's lives and on communities," said Hall, who is becoming director of British Broadcasting Corp.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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