The United Ukrainian Ballet will perform Alexei Ratmansky's new ‘Ukrainian' Giselle in the Netherlands and at the London Coliseum. The profits from ticket sales will go to help the people and culture of Ukraine.
The United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation was founded after the Russian invasion with the aim to contribute to providing training and employment for Ukrainian dancers, creatives and technicians who have fled their country, so that they can – as soon as the situation allows it – immediately continue their careers in their own country. The ‘Dutch Centre for Ukrainian Dancers' in The Hague is housed in the former Royal Conservatoire building and supported by local businesses and the government. Five large dance studios and classrooms at the venue have been converted to bedrooms for the company (and also for other refugees) who both live and study in the building.
Rehearsals are underway for ‘the Ukrainian Giselle' – an aptly chosen piece with its story of love, madness, betrayal, death, and forgiveness. This Ukrainian interpretation of the ballet will be choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky and will visit four cities in the Netherlands (13-28 August 2022) before arriving at the Coliseum Theatre in London (13-17 September 2022). The 60 dancers, drawn from the Kyiv and Kharkiv companies, will be joined by guest artists Alina Cojocaru and Katja Khaniukova (a Ukrainian First Soloist at English National Ballet).
In addition, the company will present a Triple Bill with a piece by Alexei Ratmansky, a work by Jiří Kylián – who fled the Czech Republic after the Russian invasion in 1968 and found a home in The Hague where he directed The Nederlands Dans Theater between 1975 and 2004 – and a third piece by up-and-coming Ukrainian choreographer Ksenia Zvereva.
Ratmansky will bring his piece Souvenir d'un lieu che'(Remembrance of a dear place) set to music by Piotr Tchaikovsky. The choreographer and the composer have something in common in that both artists are of Russian and Ukrainian descent, symbolising a cultural bridge that can connect and unite people.
Kylián will present Falling Angels: a performance for eight women that deals with the opposites of discipline and freedom, which have to coexist.
The English National Opera will provide its orchestra, and Birmingham Royal Ballet will lend sets and costumes, designed by Hayden Griffiths. The ENO orchestra will be conducted by the National Opera of Ukraine's Viktor Oliynyk.
All profits from ticket sales will be donated to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and the United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation.
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.