LONDON – World-renowned ballet dancers from Russia and Ukraine, Argentina, Cuba, France and Japan gathered for a gala on Saturday to raise funds for Ukraine and send a message of peace.
“As artists, we have talent, and we must use that talent to say what we believe,” Ivan Putrov, co-organizer of the event at the London Coliseum of the English National Opera, told AFP.
“Art has a voice, and it is the voice we use,” said Putrov, who from 2002 to 2010 was the principal dancer of the prestigious London Royal Ballet.
Putrov and Romanian ballerina Alina Cajacara trained in Kyiv and decided to mobilize the world of ballet for this “humanitarian call” in the face of the Russian invasion.
Now they have united a team of exceptional dancers to “raise funds that will save lives,” Putrov said.
This is a message not only for the West and in Ukraine, but also for Russia.
“Some Russians will hear us and raise their voices … because what is happening is outrageous,” he said.
Stars from Russia Natalia Osipova, Argentina Marianella Nunez and Fumi Kaneka from Japan, all from the Royal Ballet, and Frenchman Mathieu Ganio from the Paris Opera come on stage.
Also in the evening will be Katya Khanyukova from Ukraine, Aitar Arrieta from Spain and Emma Howes from the USA from the English National Ballet.
In the evening, he hopes to raise more than $ 130,000 for the UK Emergency Committee (DEC) charity, which includes the British Red Cross and helps war victims.
“Is art suitable in such horrible circumstances? Of course, yes, because it gives hope, inspires people, ”Putrau said.
Loaded with symbolism
The evening will open with the anthem of Ukraine, which will end with the “Triumph of Love” from the ballet “Raymond” to the music of Russian Alexander Glazunov.
Among them will be 13 rich in symbols of choreography, such as “No Man’s Land” by Liam Scarlett, “Lacrimosa” by Julia Pandy and “Ashes” by Jason Kittelberger.
Russian composers, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, will also perform.
“Russian culture has nothing to do with (President Vladimir) Putin, just as Putin has nothing to do with Russian culture,” Putrov said.
Osipova, one of the most famous Russian dancers outside her country, declined to be interviewed.
But its presence “means Russia is not equal to aggression,” Putrov said.
Cuban Javier Torres from the Northern Ballet will perform “Death of a Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens.
The work is about a paralegic who loses one limb and “represents a struggle for what you have lost,” Torres told AFP.
“It speaks to the struggle to the end, and that’s how I wanted to interpret it,” he said, thinking of “people who are trying to confront what is happening to them,” like Ukrainians threatened by war or Cubans affected. for decades the US Sanctions and embargoes, and “even by the Russians” in Soviet times.
“I have this pain, I have the suffering that every Cuban living outside Cuba feels, because we know the needs that are felt there,” he said.
He said that he had not mixed art with politics before, but Saturday night is “the humanitarian duty of a dancer, a human rights activist, first as a person and then as an artist.”