WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a couple of days, the war in Ukraine will hit it’s one year mark. After the Russians invaded Ukraine, we sent our journalists to Poland to cover the humanitarian crisis and when the war continued months later, we sent journalists into Ukraine to show you the harsh reality of war. Now, a little bit of Ukraine is coming to us.
Before the show begins at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., ballerinas take their time to stretch, warm up and practice their leaps and turns. This is a unique company; these dancers are Ukrainian refugees.
“I had this idea with my producer to get as many Ukrainian dancers to Holland as possible so they can be dancing until the war lasted,” said Igone de Jongh, the artistic director for the United Ukrainian Ballet. “So we are a company of 65 and we are a big family now.”
Following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, The United Ukrainian Ballet was created as a safe haven in Holland for these artists. Giving them a chance to continue their passion while they wait for the war to end. They’re now on a world tour performing a piece called “Giselle”.
“’Giselle’ by Alexander Ratmansky, he’s a good friend of mine, is very special because he made it specially for us,” said de Jongh. “It shows how proud and how strong these dancers are and how much they love their work.”
“Giselle” is a story about love, madness, betrayal, death and forgiveness. They said these are themes that resonate with today’s situation in Ukraine.
“We have become so strong together and they keep dancing,” said de Jongh. “It’s very emotional experience.”
The series “The United Ukrainian Ballet: The Arts sand War” continues in a second piece. Hear from the ballerinas themselves and the message they hope their performance conveys.