Kyiv City Ballet will make its inaugural tour of the United States this fall, the company announced on Tuesday. Since February, the company has been in France, where it had a temporary residency at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and gave charity concerts across the country to help Ukrainian citizens.
On the US tour, which begins on September 16, Kyiv City Ballet will perform “Swan Lake” along with a repertoire program of three works. Thirteen cities, including Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte, have been announced as stops, and more locations may be added at a later date. Among the stops is New York City Center, where the company founded in 2012 will participate in the Fall for Dance Festival.
The company’s star ballerinas, Krystina Kadashevich and Oksana Bondarenko, will be featured on the tour, as will Vsevolod Maevskiy, a former soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, now one of the company’s soloists.
A day after the Kiev City Ballet’s arrival in Paris on its “Nutcracker” tour, the dancers learned of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In an interview, Ivan Kozlov, the company’s artistic director, said some dancers returned home to serve with Ukrainian troops but were rejected due to lack of experience.
“They need someone on the field to help,” Kozlov said, not someone to “be helped.”
Kozlov said the dancers, who have kept in regular contact with relatives, have leaned on each other for emotional support. He said he hoped the US tour would not only showcase their art, but also prove that nothing can break them.
“They try to stay up,” he said, “to go to work, to help their families.”
Kristopher McDowell, one of the founders of Rhizome Consulting, which produces the tour, said Kyiv City Ballet wants to share Ukrainian stories with young Americans through workshops, masterclasses and conversations between dancers.
“I was never told that this company needs a day off or that this company needs three or four days to sit in their hotel room,” he said. “They want to be involved in community work.”
During Fall for Dance, Kyiv City Ballet will perform a contemporary ballet ‘Thoughts’ and a folk dance ‘Men of Kyiv’. Stanford Makishi, vice president of City Center and artistic director of dance programs, said, “They’re a group of nomads right now, so to be able to bring them to New York, to give them a chance to perform here, think I think it really makes sense.”
City Center received funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, which awards grants to support the arts and the environment, to help Kiev City Ballet with travel expenses, Makishi said. A number of presenting organizations, such as City Center, have joined forces, he said, to offset the cost of a major tour.
With Russian troops penetrating the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, Kozlov said it doesn’t matter which part of the country Russia invaded. If someone invades your house, he said, it doesn’t matter if the attack is in the kitchen, bathroom or hallway.
“It’s the same as the land,” he said. “You want your border to be in the same position it was.”