As nationalism has reasserted itself around the world, I find myself doubting things that I have always taken for granted. History never repeats itself identically, but patterns seem to re-emerge, and sometimes, countries choose to once again play a role in which they were previously cast. Russia – or at least its leader – seems determined to reprise its Tsarist role - as an authoritarian, xenophobic empire.
Is America being led away from its historical role as a defender of democracy and freedom?
While most of the national symbols featured in this series are well known, the Ballet Russe dancer may be more obscure. She represents a more avant-garde, open and tolerant movement from Russia - a symbol of hope that may yet return.