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Ukrainian ballerinas find shelter at Berlin’s top ballet company

It is not just Ukrainian dancers who dream about a permanent position at Berlin State Ballet (Staatsballett Berlin), and dancers from other countries, including Russia, are also eager to join the ensemble.

By: Reuters | Berlin |
March 27, 2022 3:15:57 pm
berlin state balletBerlin's State Ballet prima ballerina Iana Salenko, originally from the Ukraine, attends a training session of the international ensemble at the Deutsche Oper opera house in Berlin, Germany. Dancers who have fled Ukraine can also attend the training sessions there. (Source: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

Ukrainian ballerinas forced to flee war in their home country have found a temporary home at the German capital’s main ballet company, which helps them with practice space, accommodation, clothing and career advice.

Prima ballerina Iana Salenko, who tries to get the dancers auditions at ballet companies abroad or in other fields such as the opera, has danced in Berlin since 2005 but was born in Kyiv and can relate to her colleagues’ struggles.

“I understand what they feel now, to lose their job, and lose everything,” she told Reuters in an interview.

“They want just to give up, they don’t know how to go on with this situation. So of course, if I can help, it makes me happy. And they are really happy, they are just thankful for everything what I can do,” Salenko said.

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It is not just Ukrainian dancers who dream about a permanent position at Berlin State Ballet (Staatsballett Berlin), and dancers from other countries, including Russia, are also eager to join the ensemble.

According to ballet dramaturg Christiane Theobald, Russian artists are welcome, as the Staatsballett prides itself on being a melting pot for dancers coming together from all over the world.

“It is our important task to ensure that a Russia-phobia won’t emerge and that we will continue to value each other just as before the war,” Theobald said.

“Dance or art in general is supposed to connect people, not to exclude anyone,” she added.

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