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Young Ukrainian dancers, trapped abroad, get residency in Paris

PARIS – The dancers are divided between body and mind: physically on stage in Paris but in the spirit back home in Kiev.

In other circumstances, the residence of the Kyiv City Ballet at the Théâtre du Chatelet would be a dream come true, but the company of stranded young dancers feels nothing but torn.

“We are exhausted both physically and emotionally,” Ekaterina Kozlova, the company’s deputy director, told The Associated Press. “Everyone in ballet is concerned about their families, loved ones, friends, housemates. It was very difficult. “

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

The dance director of the Paris Opera along with some of her company’s best joined them in an open class before performing together a mix of ballet classics, with excerpts from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker by Russian composer Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.

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Giving them the opportunity to train and dance was an opportunity for many to focus on “something other than the conflict in Ukraine,” Kozlova said.

One of the dancers will go to the border with Ukraine in the coming days to pick up her young daughter who has been accompanied abroad.

Only a part of the company traveled through France performing an abbreviated version of The Nutcracker for young audiences: most dancers in Paris are 20 years old. Many of the ballet’s star dancers are left behind, hoping to join their friends after arriving in Paris.

“Most of our artists are trapped 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 keep dancing in France and elsewhere. The Chatelet Theater offered the whole group a residency, although this Tuesday’s last-minute performance is the last for the time being.

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All acts of its actions will be directed to non-governmental organizations that collect and send humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Ukrainian dancers also sought refuge elsewhere. The Romanian National Opera has offered six ballet dancers fleeing the war in Ukraine the chance to work with their ballet corps, and some of them may be performing in a month.

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Follow AP coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Young Ukrainian dancers, trapped abroad, get residency in Paris

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