Help is available for Ukrainian and Russian refugee dancers in Berlin

The Berlin Ballet Company is a temporary home for dancers who fled Russia and Ukraine because of the war. It provides housing and practice space as well as shoes and shoes.

24 March 2022 Thursday 13:08
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Help is available for Ukrainian and Russian refugee dancers in Berlin

Around 200 dancers, many of whom are contemplating fleeing to Germany have sought assistance from the famous State Ballet in the capital.

Christiane Theobald is the acting artistic director of the company. She stated Wednesday that it was crucial for refugees to continue their regular practice, even though they aren't performing in public.

She told The Associated Press that it is important to complete daily training. Training is similar to brushing your teeth. "The tragedy is that you cannot make up the time lost if there are phases in which you can't do it at all."

Theobald also stated that she has been in contact with other European company directors to find out if they can assist the dancers who have been forced to leave.

Theobald stated that "what we need now is positions in ensembles and those who are coming... are mostly classically, highly-classically trained dancers."

There are approximately 70 German dance companies. However, they are not all primarily focused on classical dance as most of the companies in Eastern Europe. They also often do modern dance. It will be necessary for new dancers and instructors to adapt to western European styles.

More than 30 dancers practiced their moves in a Berlin gym on Wednesday morning -- including eight refugees from Russia, and two Brazilian dancers who fled Russia just recently.

Many people arrive in Berlin with nothing and receive lots of practical assistance from the Berlin ensemble, including housing and dance shoes.

"Imagine that these people have given up everything and have very little. Theobald stated that it all starts with the pointed shoes.

The situation is dynamic and many dancers reached Berlin, then quickly moved on to other places. The company stated that it was difficult to estimate how many had received assistance.

People from all walks of the globe are fleeing Ukraine, including those who used to be part of Ukrainian ballet companies. Russia's oppressive regime is no longer appealing to Russians.

State Ballet's principal dancer Iana Salaenko, who hails from Ukraine but moved to Germany in 2005, has been also helping newcomers. She has helped them to audition at European ballet companies, and also offered them other opportunities such as opera.

The 38-year old said, "Ofcourse, it's me alone. Many other principals in Europe have tried to help this group."

Over 3.5 million people fled war-torn Europe, fleeing to safety. An outpouring of support and solidarity has welcomed them almost everywhere.

Germany has already registered nearly 240,000 Ukrainian refugees. However, the actual numbers could be higher as they do not need visas to enter the country. Federal police also keep no records of refugees who arrive by bus or train. Most people who arrive from Poland by vehicle are not usually registered.

Salenko, principal dancer, also shared the concerns of the refugees about their families in Ukraine during the war. She and her mother are now safe in Berlin. However, she still worries about her father in Ukraine and speaks to them daily -- much like the other dancers who fled to Berlin recently.

Theobald stated that even though there were many dancers from different countries practicing in Berlin, including Ukrainians, there weren't tensions among the group as a result.

Salenko also stressed that the war didn't manage to split the dancers, but rather brought them together as they attempt to navigate the terrible situation.

She said, "This situation, it's made us closer, more together."


 

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