Kyiv City Ballet on first ever U.S. tour, performs in Chattanooga this weekend

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Kyiv City Ballet is on their first ever U.S. tour. The ballet company is currently here in Chattanooga for their three night performance schedule.

The first performance was held last night with the other two to follow tonight and tomorrow in the Roland Hayes Auditorium in the UTC Fine Arts Center.

The internationally recognized Kyiv City Ballet now find themselves as refugees. Ivan Kozlov is the company leader, he said the company left Ukraine for a European tour before the Russian invasion and now are unable to return home.

“On February 23, when the invasion began, we left the country, we left Ukraine, we went to France on a tour we expect to have a three week tour. Unfortunately, the war began and we were provided by the French government to stay to keep working to do something for ourselves to stay safe. We took this opportunity. We traveled a lot around France. We performed once a week, maybe twice a week. Then we went to the United Kingdom. We were in Italy and now we’ve been invited to the United States. So we are here. After the tour we have no idea for now what will happen,” said Kozlov.

Kozlov said before it was just about representing the company, now it’s about showing off his country’s resilience and spirit. 

“Back home, we’re trying to stay connected with our parents and with our relatives. Some days we have a good news some days we have a sad news. This is life,” said Kozlov. “As artists we are used to traveling, we are used to work, we’re used to dance and going around the world but in this situation you always have this subconscious mind saying that you cannot go home right now, it’s not safe in there. If you will go there you won’t be able to travel until the war stops. So we keep working and decide to do this work because we are good at it. We have been studying artists., We’re not warriors. We are warriors from the stage we can, we can show the Ukrainian spirit. So on the stage, we represent our country right now, before we represent the company now we feel like we represent all our country.”

The company is also offering master classes to high schools and colleges and they travel through the states. Chattanooga High School held a master class for their dance students this afternoon. 

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