My dissertation explains how state power maintains itself even in the face of a radical change in political regime. Through an ethnography of South African professional ballet, I demonstrate how individuals come to embody, maintain, and resist state-sanctioned forms of discipline and control. Ballet was the darling of the racist apartheid regime, and is historically linked with the racialized, gendered, and class regulations that were central to the white supremacist state. Yet, its proponents now tout ballet as equally capable of promoting post-apartheid goals of development, progress, and racial equality—an agenda supported by the current democratic government. In examining the fluid transition of ballet from a cornerstone of apartheid to being the paradigm of inclusion and diversity, my data show how this new “ballet for the people” depends on ballet’s capacities to maintain itself as an apolitical practice of excellence and self-discipline, the very capacities that made it the privileged art form of the apartheid era. I further argue that the new, post-democracy conditions of South African ballet intensify inequalities and hide the gendered and racialized labor upon which it has historically relied. I argue for an understanding of privilege that is embodied and intersectional, taking into account the bodily labor embedded in producing ballet as a national art form across seemingly oppositional political regimes.