A Ukrainian dance company that hasn’t been able to return home since Russia invaded Ukraine will perform this fall at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Three performances by Kyiv City Ballet are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. from October 5-7 at the newly renovated Roland Hayes Concert Hall in the UTC Center for Fine Arts. Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Monday. The Chattanooga Ballet is a co-sponsor of the appearance and will perform with the troupe October 6-7.
“This is a huge event for us,” said Bob Boyer, director of UTC Presents. “It’s top level. We’ve had some great companies here before, but their precision and technical expertise are among the best in Europe.”
According to Boyer, the dancers left Ukraine just hours before Russia invaded their homeland in February. They travel around the world, unable to return home.
This is their first time in the United States. The company, under the artistic direction of Ivan Kozlov, will perform in 15 cities from September 16 to October 25.
(READ MORE: Chattanooga rally prays and sings for end to conflict in Ukraine)
“We are honored to share the beauty of ballet with American audiences through Ukrainian artists,” Kozlov, who founded Kyiv City Ballet in 2012, said in a press release. “Touring the states for the first time with a range of ballets is an important global statement. It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
Boyer said he plans to sell tickets to people outside of the Chattanooga area because the next closest performance venue is more than a four-hour drive away.
The ballet company left its homeland on February 23, the day before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on what would be one of the last flights out of the country. The company traveled to Paris to begin a long-planned European tour and has not returned home since.
Boyer said promoters like him and UTC work to keep the company going. All proceeds from ticket sales for the performances will go directly to Kyiv City Ballet to help maintain the financial solvency of the dancers and their families while they are refugees and guests in the United States.
(READ MORE: Uncertainty is a reality for Ukrainian artists in Chattanooga as the war at home continues)
“It keeps a company of 43 alive for the week they’re in this city and for as long as they’re touring the United States,” he said.
The tour will include a full performance of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” on October 5 and mixed repertoire programs with the Chattanooga Ballet on October 6 and 7.
Kyiv City Ballet’s performances on October 6 and 7 will also include a contemporary ballet titled “Thoughts” and “Men of Kyiv”, a Ukrainian folk dance.
Chattanooga Ballet will perform “3 Muses for Apollo” on October 6. The October 7 performance will include two world premieres, “Some Day, Some Time” and “Trio Élégiaque”.
“It’s an opportunity to see one of the best ballet companies in Europe, to learn about the increased talent in our own community and to help some artists survive while they are refugees,” said Boyer.
The Kyiv City Ballet will conclude its show on October 7 with “Tribute to Peace”, a neoclassical work specially commissioned for this tour.
The main dancer of the company is Vsevolod Maevskiy, a former pupil of Kozlov. Two of the first Ukrainian ballerinas, Krystina Kadashevych and Oksana Bondarenko, will perform with the company during its American tour.
(READ MORE: Ukrainian artists in Chattanooga surprised by Russian invasion)
Tickets can be purchased at the UTC Center for Fine Arts Box Office, 752 Vine St., or through the Center for Fine Arts’ online ticketing site, utc.edu/fine-arts-center. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The box office will open at 6:30 p.m. before the performances each evening.
Tickets range from $29 to $79 and can only be purchased with debit or credit cards.
Customers are encouraged to use mobile delivery or print-at-home options when purchasing tickets. A transaction fee of $5 per order at the box office will be added for in-person ticket purchases or on-site pickup.