Alexei Ratmansky: The challenges of staging Ukrainian ballet during war

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Russian-born choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who recently staged a production of Giselle in London with The United Ukrainian Ballet, has told the BBC about the challenges of working on it while the war in Ukraine continues.

“Dancers have families. I have a family in Kyiv. We’re all constantly checking the news,” Ratmansky, who grew up in Ukraine, told Stepan Sakur of the HardTalk program.

“You wake up in the morning and you want to know which cities were bombed, how many people were killed, what buildings were destroyed and check that all your loved ones are well and safe.”

The United Ukrainian Ballet is a group of Ukrainian dancers, technicians and creatives who fled their home country at the time of the Russian invasion and are now based in the Netherlands.

Ratmansky, a former principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet, was artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet since 2004 before joining the American Ballet Theater as Artist in Residence in 2009. He was working with the Bolshoi on a new production when the conflict broke out and he left Russia.

Watch the full interview on BBC World News on Monday 26 September.

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