Dancing brothers Julian MacKay and Nicholas MacKay, who many will know through this blog (which started following them and their two sisters in 2013), are trapped in Russia after the government set further restrictions on movement in the wake of the coronavirus emergency, meaning that all international flights are now suspended.
Julian, 22, is a First Soloist at the Mikhailovsky Theatre and Nicholas, 19 (who trained at the Bolshoi like his older brother) is 19, and now works as a photographer. They were both fastened into their seats on the last plane out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport when the cancellation of the flight was announced.
Their overriding reason for wanting to return home to Montana was to see their father, who is dying of cancer. He remained alone in Montana when the boys were growing up. The boys were studying ballet in the Bolshoi’s school, accompanied by their mother, Teresa; their two dancing sisters, Maria Sascha Khan and Nadia Khan, were both working in companies outside the United States.
Julian and Nicholas had caught a plane from St Petersburg where they live, but have now had to accept the situation and have made the 700km trip back to their home by train. They had waited two weeks before finding a plane to take them to the US amid confusion due to many cancellations over the last few weeks.
Maria Sascha immediately alerted Montana senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, as well as the American Embassy in Moscow with an Instagram post. The Embassy tweeted:
The US Embassy is aware of the inexplicable cancellation of today’s Aeroflot flight to New York. The flight was full of US citizens anxious to get home. We are awaiting an explanation from the Russian Federation. We continue to work to find ways to help US citizens return home.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.