Alexei Ratmansky: The challenges of staging Ukrainian ballet during the war

Russian-born choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who recently directed a production of Giselle in London with the United Ukrainian Ballet, told the BBC about the challenges of working on it while the war in Ukraine is ongoing.

“Dancers have families. I have a family in Kyiv. We’re all checking the news all the time,” Ratmansky, who grew up in Ukraine, told Hardtalk’s Stephen Sackur.

“You wake up in the morning and want to know which towns have been bombed, how many people have been killed, which buildings have been destroyed and to check that all your loved ones are okay and safe.”

The United Ukrainian Ballet is a group of Ukrainian dancers, technicians and creators who fled their country during the Russian invasion and are now based in the Netherlands.

Ratmansky, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Ukraine, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet, served as artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet from 2004 before joining American Ballet Theater in 2009 as artist-in-residence . He was working on a new production with the Bolshoi when the conflict broke out and he left Russia.

Watch the full interview on BBC World News on Monday, September 26.