The United Ukrainian Ballet made its triumphant US debut performing world-renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Giselle, performing at the Kennedy Center Opera House on February 1.

The company 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.

When the performances were announced, 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.”

Read more about the extraordinary artists and their personal stories in The New York Times and Pointe magazine, on NPR, and watch their feature on CBS News.

The United Ukrainian Ballet performs Giselle through February 5. For more information, please visit the Kennedy Center website.

Photo by Altin Kaftira