Artists of the Kyiv City Ballet
Artists of the Kyiv City Ballet

Funds raised in the program, “Tribute to Peace,” will be used for many purposes including emergency food assistance, orphanages, child education, refugee shelter, medical supplies, protective gear for first responders and delivery vehicles.

Kristina Kadashevych, a Jewish member of the Kyiv City Ballet, left Ukraine for France the day before her country was attacked. The troupe, which has performed on four continents, has not returned to Ukraine and instead is performing in various countries to earn funds in support of the Ukrainian people.

The troupe is performing in Detroit on Tuesday evening, Sept. 27, at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. The program, among the company’s first travels through the United States, also is supported by Detroit Opera.

Maryna Apanasenko of the Kyiv City Ballet
Maryna Apanasenko of the Kyiv City Ballet

The group will present several repertoire pieces such as “Classical Suite,” “Men of Kyiv” and “A Tribute to Peace.” The Kyiv City Ballet was founded 10 years ago by Ivan Kozlov, its current artistic director.

“Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement and demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people,” Kozlov said.

Funds raised in the program, “Tribute to Peace,” will be used for many purposes including emergency food assistance, orphanages, child education, refugee shelter, medical supplies, protective gear for first responders and delivery vehicles.

“Detroit always has been first in line to lend a helping hand when people are in trouble, and this fundraising performance will show it,” said Vince Paul, Music Hall president and artistic director.

Wayne Brown, Detroit Opera president and CEO, agreed: “Times such as these serve as a reminder of the value that arts and culture play throughout the globe. Detroit Opera is delighted to join forces with Music Hall in welcoming the Kyiv Ballet to Detroit.”

Kristina Kadashevych of the Kyiv City Ballet
Kristina Kadashevych of the Kyiv City Ballet
One-on-One with Kadashevych

To advance the company’s Detroit appearances, Kadashevych answered questions, with help and by email, for the Detroit Jewish News:

JN: Have the ballets changed or evolved since the start of rehearsals?
KK: The ballets we will perform in the United States have changed and evolved based on our feelings and experience.

JN: How would you describe the dances/ballets?
KK: We have many ballets, mostly classical, including “Petipa,” and also modern pieces. We will show some new pieces and some classics.

JN: How many members are in the company and have you become closer during rehearsals?
KK: We have around 40 people in our company now. Always, everyone in the ballet is close because we first study and then work together. We have become closer during the past months than before. We are like one big family.

JN: What do you think makes the people in Ukraine so loyal to their country?
KK: I think everyone is loyal to their country. It is normal to love the country where you were born and grew up, the place where your family lives.

JN: What close family members do you have in Ukraine?
KK: Most of my family lives in Ukraine, including my parents and my son.

JN: Have you been able to keep in touch with your family while you were in Paris and what have they said to you?
KK: Yes, of course. We [have been] in communication every day. The most important question for me is if they are safe.

JN: How is your family doing?
KK: They are doing as well as can be expected in this situation. They are together and that helps.

JN: What countries have you visited since leaving Ukraine?
KK: We have been in France, the Czech Republic, England and Egypt.

JN: How have you been treated by the people you’re meeting around the world?
KK: People have been very warm and supportive everywhere we travel.

JN: What has Judaism meant to you as you experience this difficult situation?
KK: There was a very pleasant and unexpected moment for me. In the very first days of the war, the Kharkiv Jewish Center contacted me and asked about how I was and how my family was doing. It gave me the feeling that we have a very big and supportive Jewish community in Ukraine and in the world. We help each other in any situation.

JN: What do you want people to learn about the Ukrainians?
KK: People want to know about our culture and traditions. They want to know how we lived our lives before the war and how we are now.

JN: What do you want them to know about your travels?
KK: We would like everyone to know how thankful we are for the support we have received everywhere we go.

JN: What have you learned about attitudes toward Ukrainians since [the attacks] began?
KK: I think before the beginning of the war many people didn’t know very much about our country. Now people are so interested in learning about us and our culture and country.

JN: Are there any special experiences you will always remember from being in the company?
KK: The opportunity to work at the Opera Garnier, thanks to the wonderful people of the Paris Opera. This is a dream for every dancer.

JN: What do you want the world to know about the fighting in Ukraine?
KK: We hope the end of the war comes soon. We want to go home.

The Kyiv City Ballet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison, Detroit. $30-$75. (313) 857-8501. musichall.org.

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