These dancers escaped the war. Their journey has just begun.


Most of the work of finding new homes for Ukrainian students is based in New York. Youth American Grand Prix, an organization that runs competitions for dancers to receive scholarships. It was scheduled to hold its first ever event in Ukraine in March. The group’s co-founder and former Bolshoi dancer, Larisa Saveliev, emailed the 50 or so dancers that had joined when the Russian War began, saying, “If you need help, please let me know.”

Before long, her cell phone number was passed on to Ukrainian dancers, calling her day and night, often with students arriving alone at the Polish border, and some without passports. Saveliev said they would simply ask, “Where should I go?” She tapped her contacts and sent them to schools across Europe, including La Scala in Milan and the John Cranko school in Stuttgart.

It’s been almost two months since the war started, but the calls have not stopped, Saveliev said. “It was a humanitarian effort at first,” Saveliev said. “We just thought, ‘Let’s find a bed for these kids.’ Now we have to think about their education.”

Saveliev said he was able to place two students who already had visas at US schools, but said the lengthy visa process made it difficult to bring them to the US. “There are more than 50 schools willing to invite Ukrainian dancers. We can’t get them here,” she said. “We’re working on it.” (Even ballet schools in the UK cannot accept students because of strict visa regulations, Saveliev added.)

Despite the visa situation, at least one American ballet company is willing to help. On May 4, the lawyers at the Miami City Ballet Julia Moskalenko28, Principal of the National Ballet of Ukraine, to join this company.



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