By MARIA GRAZIA MURRU and FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press
NAPLES, Italy (AP) – A Ukrainian ballerina who fled the war in her homeland and a Russian ballerina who left the Bolshoi Ballet as a result of the Russian invasion repeated on stage in Naples before the operation sold on Monday night to raise money for. Red Cross and advocacy for peace in Ukraine.
The San Carlo Theater of Naples has announced the event “Stand with Ukraine – Ballet for Peace.”
Despite that explanation, it is reported that the prospect of Russian dancers dancing on the same stage as the Ukrainian people angered the Ukrainian ambassador in Naples. The Italian daily La Repubblica quoted the ambassador as saying to some Ukrainian residents of the southern Italian city that they had refused to play.
Among the stars in the event is prima ballerina Olga Smirnova, who left Bolshoi last month and is now dancing with the Dutch National Ballet. One of the main characters is Anastasia Gurskaya, a top ballerina of Kyiv’s Opera, who escaped the war in Ukraine.
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“I think it’s important in this situation, at the moment, to be together on stage. To do small things, small things, that we can do for Ukraine,” Smirnova told reporters at the stadium before the exercise. last. “This is the main goal for all of us. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re dancing tonight.”
Fellow prima ballerina Gurskaya said her performance is another way to help Ukraine.
“My life is a mess now. And I’ve never been to Italy in this city, and I’ve never danced with stars like today, and world ballet stars, and I’m excited about that. And I do not know why this happened to me, “a Ukrainian singer told The Associated Press.” I am very happy to be here and to be able to help and support my country with my dance today. “
The director of the theater, Alessio Carbone, praised Smirnova’s participation.
“Olga is a very strong image for us, because she was clearly the first singer to publicly oppose (Putin). So being with her tonight is an encouragement to courage,” Carbone said.
No one answered the phone calls Monday at the Ukrainian embassy in Naples. Calls to the mayor’s press office went unanswered.
About a dozen protesters, some holding Ukrainian flags, showed up outside the stadium before the event to express their dissatisfaction with the Russian protesters’ participation.
Before the exercise, one Ukrainian observer mentioned a small town near Kyiv where the horrific remains of civilian bodies had been found.
According to the Ukrainian prosecutor-general, the bodies of 410 civilians were evacuated from the cities of the Kyiv region, which had recently been confiscated by Russian forces. Associated Press reporters have seen the bodies of at least 21 people around Bucha, northwest of the capital.
Stanislav Olshanskyi, who has danced at the Kyiv Opera House since 2018, says he lived in Bucha for five years.
“It is my city. I know this city, I was walking down the streets, “he told the AP.” These photos … are awesome. I can’t imagine this, as if it were not for this world, it would not be true. But I know it’s true and we can’t forgive this. “
Frances D’Emilio reports from Rome.
Follow all AP stories about the Russian invasion of Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.
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