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Marquee ad of the Kyiv Ballet’s Swan Lake on Teatro Coliseum down Gran Via.
by Rose Maramba
In Barcelona the curtain has rung recently down on the National Ballet of Ukraine, a.k.a. Kyiv National Ballet – Kyiv Ballet for short – whose interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s delightful classical ballet, Swan Lake, was as potent artistically as it was inspiring of a profound sense of solidarity among the Catalan theatergoers. Likely, the company will keep audiences spellbound throughout the rest of its tour of Spain.
Kyiv Ballet performed Swan Lake at Barcelona’s Teatro Tivoli from 6 to 7 July 2022. €2.00 of every ticket sold at Tivoli will go to Ukrainian refugees through the Red Cross which leads humanitarian organizations in attending the refugees in Catalonia since Putin despatched his atrocious war machine to the former Soviet republic last 24 February.
In the nation’s capital, the Kyiv Ballet gave memorable performances of Swan Lake between the 20th and the 31st of July. Venue: Teatro Coliseum on Gran Via, 78, in Madrid’s glittering theater district. Out of each ticket sold, €1.50 will be donated to UNICEF to help save and protect Ukrainian children whose innocent lives are shattered by the ruthless Russian invasion.
The magical artistry of the ballet, and to help out, are two very good reasons why Madrileños should flock to the show. NOTE: MASK IS REQUIRED.
Updates and tickets for October, November and December performances in Madrid
After Madrid, in the fall and winter months of October, November, December 2022, and January 2023, Kyiv Ballet will push on across Spain to stage more than one hundred performances in Albacete, Alicante, Almería, Ávila, Badajoz, Bilbao, Burgos, Cáceres, Ciudad Real, Coruña, Elche, Ferrol, Granada, Jerez, León, Logroño, Málaga, Murcia, Ourense, Oviedo, Palencia, Pamplona, Pontevedra, Reus, Sabadell, Salamanca, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Sevilla, Soria, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo, and Zaragoza.
Dancing far away from home, while bombs drop on targets that do maximum damage to Ukraine’s strategic defense, as well as destroy the morale of the civilian population, takes stalwart professional dedication mixed generously with profound patriotism. Kyiv’s Spanish tour is part of the company’s tour that will take it to other countries in Europe later on.
Swan Lake, a beautiful fairy-tale love-story ballet, is a mesmerizing mix of romance, magic and tragedy featuring Prince Siegfried and Odette, a lovely princess turned into a swan by Baron von Rothbart, an evil sorcerer. Siegfried and Odette fall in love, never mind that Odette can only take human form at night. Otherwise, she is a swan, the Queen Swan, who spends the day swimming in the lake’s tears. Only true love can break the curse.
As in the original libretto, Kyiv Ballet’s Swan Lake ends in tragedy, or so it would seem, the lovers drowning in the lake’s tears as a result of the sorcerer’s machinations. But all is not lost because it turns out that evil is really no match for true love. In a true fairy-tale fashion, Siegfried and Odette will live happily ever after.
Swan Lake, along with The Nutcracker whose score was written by none other than Tchaikovsky, is one of the best-loved and most famous of all the classical ballets.
The Kyiv Ballet, with more than twenty ballets in its repertory, is one of the biggest performing arts companies in Europe and one of the largest ballet companies in the world. Its home is the National Opera House of Ukraine.
Setting out on its first international tour in the 1950s, long before Ukraine reestablished its independence in 1992 through The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine in August 1991, at the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Kiev Ballet has notched up a history of successful international touring. At first, it was just tours in the Communist Bloc countries. But it rapidly went far afield, crossing the Soviet borders over into other places, reaping great success notably in Paris and London.
As early as 1935, the Kyiv Ballet was awarded the gold medal at the London International Folklore Dance Festival. Then there was the French Dance Academy’s highest prize, the Étoile d’Or, awarded to Kyiv Ballet in 1964 at International Classical Dance Festival in Paris. The “History of the National Ballet of Ukraine” notes that for years “the Kyiv Ballet’s performances in Paris became highlights of the European cultural calendar and provided major impetus for the company’s subsequent performances across Europe, North America and Asia.”
Given its track record, extensive international touring could well be Kyiv Ballet’s second name.
Among Kyiv Ballet’s famous former members are Ukrainians Svetlana Zakharova, Vladimir Malakhov and Leonid Sarafanov, not to mention Russians Nadezhda Pavlova, Irina Kolpakova, and legendary Maya Plisetskaya whose long list of international awards and honors include artistic directorship of the Spanish National Lyrical Ballet Theatre in Madrid, 1987-1990; Gold Medal of Fine Arts of Spain, 1991; Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic which she received from the hands of King Juan Carlos I, 1991; and the Prince of Asturias award for Arts, 2005.
Kyiv Ballet’s current Prima Ballerina is Kateryna Kukhar. After graduating from Kyiv State Ballet School in 1999, Kateryna received invitations to work in the likes of the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Japanese National Ballet, and the National Opera House of Ukraine. She accepted the National Opera House’s.
Kateryna has toured Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan, Korea, China . . . ; is a jury member of international ballet competitions and festivals as well as an international dance instructor.
A recipient of the “Honored Artist of Ukraine” and”Pride of Ukraine” awards, she appears in practically all the leading roles in Kyiv Ballet’s robust repertoire.
Kateryna’s duet with People’s Artist of Ukraine Aleksandr Stoyanov, formed in 2006, deserves mention here. At their debut at the National Opera House, they did The Nutcracker, really a warm-up for their upcoming first tour in China. Today, their repertoire spans the length and breadth of the National Opera House of Ukraine’s classical and neoclassical productions. London ballet critic Maggie Foer called the duet “the most beautiful ballet couple in Europe.”
Kateryna who was paired with Stoyanov for the first time in The Nutcracker says in an interview that “since then we have been together in life and on the stage.”
Sold-out performances are a regular occurrence for the Kateryna-Aleksandr duet.
Featured image/Rose Maramba
Teatro Tivoli/Enric via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA4.0 cropped
Kyiv Ballet poster, Fair use
National Opera House/Larmarphoto via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-S4.0
Aleksandr Stoyanov/Enzonieri, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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