Kateryna Khaniukova, 24, has escaped the bloodshed in Ukraine and joined English National Ballet. She will appear on the San Diego Civic Theatre Stage this May as Princess Aurora in California Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty.
Here is her story.
Securing the paperwork to travel proved impossible because the visa centre was evacuated when snipers began firing into Maidan square. She then faced weeks of delays as she battled to get her papers processed alongside hundreds of others desperately trying to flee.
Kateryna said her final performance with Kiev Ballet in Ukraine was seen by almost nobody other than a handful of protesters seeking shelter from confrontations with government forces outside. “It felt so stupid when people were dying,” she said.
Her parents, who are doctors, helped treat the victims of sniper fire. She said her family was relieved she was now safe in London.
“Every day I was sitting there with my luggage,” she said. “We were looking at the television all the time because we didn’t know what was going to happen every hour. The people who could were trying to get away.”
Kateryna also said she was thrilled to be working with Tamara Rojo, the English National Ballet’s artistic director, who spotted her in a class. “I’m so thankful to Tamara and everybody,” she said. “I was hoping I would be here in January but there were all these delays. I hate that because I only love to dance.”
She said she wanted to join ENB because it was an expressive company. “You have to have the best technique but it’s also about the feelings.”
**Interview and text provided by London Evening Standard Chief Arts Correspondent Louise Jury. Read the original article HERE.