It has just been announced that the newly formed United Ukrainian Ballet will tour Australia.
The UUB is formed from the Ukrainian dancers, teachers and theatre artists who have fled Ukraine following the Russian invasion. They are based in The Hague in Holland, in the Royal Conservatoire Building (now called the Dutch Centre for Ukrainian Dancers) and supported by the United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation. There are more than 60 dancers at present, who not only train at the venue but also sleep there (along with other refugees).
According to their website, the UUB "will disseminate Ukrainian culture worldwide through performance and storytelling. In its artistic programming, the company profiles itself specifically as a Ukrainian company: in its interpretation, it searches simultaneously for the tradition and quality of the dancers as well as for the urgency and theme of the war and ideological violence Ukraine is facing."
The Foundation is the initiative of Dutch prima ballerina Inge de Yongh, former principal dancer with the Dutch National Ballet.
Already the company is working up a "Ukrainian Giselle", arranged by the Russian/Ukrainian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who has been leading a fierce campaign of opposition to the war and has pledged his full support for the fledgling company.
As well as Giselle, the dancers are putting together a triple bill of ballets significant to their current painful circumstances. They include Fallen Angels, by Jiri Kylian, the iconic choreographer and former artistic director of the Netherlands Dance Theatre who is familiar with Russian aggression – he fled to Holland after the Russian invasion of his homeland of Czechoslovakia in 1968. A second piece is by a rising Ukrainian choreographer, Ksenia Zvereva, and the third is by Ratmansky, Souvenir d’un lieu cher – Remembrance of a dear place, to the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky – a Russian with Ukrainian heritage on his father's side. The UUB is taking the program on tour around the Netherlands throughout August and then travelling to London in September.
In Australia, the company will present Swan Lake.
A portion of each ticket sold on the Australian tour will be donated to The United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation.
Melbourne, Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, October 20 to 23
Sydney, Darling Harbour Theatre, October 28 to 30
Adelaide Festival Theatre, November 10-13