The Kyiv City Ballet moves into residence at the Théâtre du Châtelet


The dancers are torn between body and spirit – physically on stage in Paris but in spirit at home in kyiv.

Under other circumstances, Kyiv City Ballet’s residency at the Théâtre du Châtelet would be a dream come true, but the stranded company of young dancers feels little but heartbreaking.

“We are physically and emotionally exhausted,” Ekaterina Kozlova, the company’s deputy director, told The Associated Press. “Everyone in the ballet is worried about their family, their loved ones, their friends, their colleagues at home. It’s been very difficult.”

The Théâtre du Châtelet, in the heart of the French capital, offered them the stage on Tuesday for the last show of a French tour which left the company stranded after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

The Paris Opera’s dance director and some of her company’s best joined them for an open class before performing a medley of ballet classics together, with excerpts from Swan Lake and Casse -Noisette by Russian composer Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.

Having the opportunity to train and dance was a chance for many to focus on “something other than the conflict in Ukraine”, Kozlova said.

One of the dancers will travel to the Ukrainian border in the coming days to pick up her young daughter who was accompanied out of the country.

Only part of the company traveled around France to perform an abridged version of The Nutcracker for young audiences – most dancers in Paris are in their early twenties. Many of the ballet’s star dancers remained behind, waiting to join their friends after arriving in Paris.

“Most of our artists are stuck in Ukraine,” director Ivan Kozlov told the crowd.

The city of Paris and the ballet community have helped find temporary accommodation for Ukrainian dancers who say they want to continue dancing in France and elsewhere. The Châtelet theater has offered a residency for the whole group, although Tuesday’s last-minute performance will be the last for now.

All proceeds from their performances will go to non-governmental organizations that collect and ship humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Ukrainian dancers have also sought refuge elsewhere. The Romanian National Opera has offered six ballet dancers fleeing war in Ukraine a chance to work with their corps de ballet, and some of them could perform within a month.

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