Voice of Resistance
Kyiv City Ballet of Ukraine, amidst an uncertain future and embraced by cities throughout the globe, comes to Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre this fall
One sleepy evening this past February, the full company of the Kyiv City Ballet boarded a flight out of its home city of Ukraine to embark upon a long-planned European tour. Little did anyone know at the time that it would be one of the last flights out of the country as Russia would invade its borders the very next day. That flight made its way to Paris, a city and its country that would adopt the ballet company in the wake of the Russian invasion. There and throughout Europe, the Kyiv City Ballet has performed since and now embarks upon a US tour that will bring them to the landmark Auditorium Theatre stage this fall.
With a tone a bit more somber than anyone could have originally expected when first booked, the tour will serve as much more than ambassador to a city and country resolute in their sovereignty, it will serve to shed a poignant light on Ukraine and its plight in a way only dance could. Serving as the original ballet of Ukraine for 10 years, Kyiv City Ballet brings light and joy in the darkness to audiences worldwide with its exemplary performances. And now, amidst a greater struggle and rising tensions, the company stands as the “voice of resistance” on a global stage.
Kyiv City Ballet starts its first-ever tour of the United States on September 16 in advance of this rare Chicago visit at the Auditorium Theatre; the company will be performing in only 12 markets this Fall.
With the company displaced and the prospects for peace back home uncertain, it was imperative that venues in the US support what would become a world tour for the Kyiv City Ballet, and here in Chicago, The Auditorium Theatre stepped in. Said Rich Regan, Auditorium Theatre CEO, “We knew we had to work with management to schedule an engagement in Chicago; fortunately, it spawned a larger U.S. tour…We are proud to support Ukraine’s most distinguished dance ambassadors for peace.” And so for one weekend, Chicago audiences will see the excellence and resilience of the company’s classically trained dancers in a mixed repertoire program that is as contemplative as it is timely.
Under the direction of Kyiv City Ballet Artistic Director Ivan Kozlov, formerly of The Ballet at Mariinsky Theatre and the St. Petersburg Eifman Ballet, Chicago audiences can expect to a dazzling presentation featuring two of the top prima ballerinas of Ukraine: Kristina Kadashevych and Oksana Bondarenko, along with the company’s principal dancer Vsevolod Maevskiy, a former soloist of The Ballet at Mariinsky Theatre and Kozlov’s former student. Slated for the company’s Auditorium Theatre performances are: Thoughts, a contemporary work examining the meaning of human thought, as choreographed by company member Vladyslav Dobshynskyi, to a score by Nils Frahm, Burkhard Dallwitz, Max Richter, and Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy; Classical Suite showcases the wedding pas de deux from three classical ballets, all set to scores by Ludwig Minkus, yet written in different styles: Paquita, La Bayadere, and Don Quixote. Choreographed by Kozlov (after Marius Petipa), Classical Suite is performed by the principal dancers of Kyiv City Ballet and gives the audience a look at exquisite classical ballet to conclude the program; and Tribute to Peace created by Ivan Kozlov and the company’s deputy director, Ekaterina Kozlova, especially for the U.S. 2022 tour, to a score by Edward Elgar, that explores what life should be without conflict, anger, or despair.
Said Kozlov, “We are excited to share the beauty of this ballet with the City of Chicago. This first United States tour of the Kyiv City Ballet with a range of ballets makes an important global statement. It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
The Kyiv City Ballet U.S. tour, including the Auditorium Theatre engagement, is produced by Rhizome Consulting.
Kyiv City Ballet ticket buyers are invited to support the Ukrainian war relief effort via donation to the Chicago-based Operation White Stork, a veteran-led, rapid response, humanitarian organization that takes its name from the national bird of Ukraine. Among its valued services, Operation White Stork evacuates women and children, the elderly, and their pets; provides free temporary housing to evacuees and individual first aid kits and personal protective equipment to defense and humanitarian forces; and helps repatriate displaced Ukrainians across Europe back into Ukraine. For more information on White Stork, visit operationwhitestork.org.
Kyiv City Ballet performs at the Auditorium Theatre Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $40 (inclusive of all fees) and are now available at AuditoriumTheatre.org, by calling 312.341.2300, or at the Box Office at 50 E Ida B Wells Drive in Chicago, Illinois.