Hamburg: Ballet school gives Ukrainian children a new home – culture

Some Ukrainian children have found a new home at the ballet school in Hamburg. Photo: Christian Charisius / dpa

Children from 33 nations dance at the ballet school of world-famous choreographer John Neumeier. To express their solidarity, the school accepted young dancers from Ukraine.

Hamburg – Konstantin Tselikov wears black sports pants and a gray training jacket. Below is an orange blouse with a white hand that makes the sign of peace.

Peace – this is how the ballet teacher from the Hamburg ballet school, originally from Ukraine, wishes for his clients. For four weeks, Konstantin Tselikov, whom everyone simply calls Kostya, has also trained some ballet students who fled to Hamburg with their pre-war parents in Ukraine. The world-famous choreographer John Neumeier Ballet School has already accepted a total of ten Ukrainian children between the ages of six and thirteen – more children are being considered.

“We thought: What can we do to help,” said Gigi Hyatt, director of education and deputy director of the ballet school. It became clear that the school wanted to take some children with dance experience from Ukraine. The Hamburg Ballet Friends Association offers financial support. The contact also came through personal connections – some of the Hamburg Ballet dancers come from Ukraine, including first soloist Alexandre Riabko. “The best thing about ballet is that ballet halls look the same all over the world and the language of ballet – French – is the same all over the world,” says the German-American, who has run the school since 2013. “Children they felt at home. ”

Make friends at ballet school

Some of the Ukrainian ballet students live in the dormitory near the school. Like Masha, 13, from Kiev. She stayed alone in Hamburg, her parents and brother fled to Spain. “Only here is there such a good ballet school. That’s why I really wanted to stay here,” says the 13-year-old, who has been taking ballet lessons for ten years and dreams of dancing one day in a society. Khrystyna, 14, also lives in boarding school, her mother lives in Hamburg, her father stayed in Kiev. Girls find it easier to find their way into the new environment when they are two. The 146 students in the ballet school come from 33 nations, so it’s easier to make friends.

At the moment, ballet students are rehearsing for the big performance of the ballet school “First Steps” on April 30 and June 20 at the Hamburg State Opera. All preschool classes practice with Konstantin Tselikov for their performance, including the waltz “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss. Little Pavlo is also there and proudly presents what he can already do. “Show me how good you are!”, The teacher motivates his defenders, while the pianist Narmin Elyasova plays the waltz music from the tape again. From the happy faces of the little dancers it can be seen that they have forgotten the fight for a while.



The Hamburg Ballet also wants to help adult dancers from Ukraine along with Kulturfabrik Kampnagel. Members of the Kyiver Compagnie, many of whom are currently touring in Europe and around the world, have been invited to work in the Hanseatic City and create a program that will grow in the long run with the support of the Hamburg ensemble. At the Kampnagel, the ensemble of seven dancers will receive a stage and technical and organizational support for the production “For the air we breathe”, which, supported by the Hamburg State Opera Promotion Foundation, will be performed at the Kampnagel on 29 and April 30 will. It is planned to enable guest dancers to work in Hamburg for a longer period of time with grants.

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