The United Ukrainian Ballet will make their US debut in the US premiere of world-renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Giselle, performing at the Kennedy Center Opera House from the 1-5 February 2023. The Kennedy Center’s Opera House Orchestra will accompany the ballet, led by Ukrainian conductor Victor Oliynik. The United Ukrainian Ballet is formed of 60 professional dancers from the national theatres of Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, who sought safety from the Russian invasion of their home country. Ratmansky, a native of Ukraine and an ardent supporter of its artists, recently created the full-length production for this group.

Ratmansky said, “I am delighted that the United Ukrainian Ballet is to perform Giselle at the Kennedy Center. When we started this project in April, we had nothing but goodwill and determination. Since then this company of refugees has performed across the Netherlands and to great acclaim at the London Coliseum. Our purpose has been fourfold: to preserve Ukraine’s long history of ballet culture; to give meaningful employment to dancers till the war is won; to entertain the public; and finally, to keep public support for Ukraine through giving a personal emotional experience. The USA has led the world in its support for Ukraine. It seems only right that the United Ukrainian Ballet should perform in the nation’s capital.”

Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center, said, “As the National Cultural Center, we believe in the importance of bringing the rich and wide range of cultures from across the world to the nation’s capital, particularly at this moment. To welcome this extraordinary company to Washington is a pleasure and privilege. Many may know Alexei Ratmansky’s work from his relationship with the American Ballet Theatre, which performs annually as part of the Center’s season. His deep connection and dedication to this project gives an opportunity for audiences to support this other piece of his identity and heritage. And to the resilient artists of the company, we thank you for sharing your talent with us.”

Tickets will go on sale on the Kennedy Center website on the 9 November.

Photo credit: Altin Kaftira