War and the Grand Kyiv Ballet

War and the Grand Kyiv Ballet

On 25th April each year New Zealanders and Australians pause to commemorate Anzac Day - a national day of remembrance that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".  Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)  who served in the Gallipoli campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).

Over 100 years later, those of us attending dawn services and other events are mostly remembering historical wars. All over the world there are others for whom war is all too real.

On 23rd February 2022, Ivan and Ekaterina Kozlov arrived in Paris with 38 young dancers for a short tour of a children’s version of The Nutcracker. Just hours later Russia invaded Ukraine and all flights to and from Kyiv Airport were immediately halted.

“We woke up on the morning of the invasion to dozens and dozens of messages on our phones saying Ukraine was being invaded,” said Ekaterina, 30.

Her husband, Ivan, 39, founded the Ukrainian capital’s ballet corps, which he now directs, in 2012. If everything had gone according to plan, the ballet troupe would have been back in Kyiv on the following Monday, rehearsing for new performances of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Kozlov, an internationally known dancer who has performed at the Bolshoi. 

Making the best of a horrible situation, the company spent the rest of 2022 performing throughout Europe and, for the first time, the United States, spreading a message of peace, hope, and resilience to enthusiastic audiences.  With no end to the war in sight, the company has continued touring in 2023 and this week we welcome them to Christchurch as part of their own Anzac tour.

“It’s not easy for us to organise but we would be more than honoured to dance anywhere in the world,” Kozlova said. “Except Russia, of course.”


If you can't get to see them live, they have their own YouTube channel here > https://www.youtube.com/@grandkyivballet7343/videos

Below are links to a couple of articles about the ballet company. 





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