Alexei Ratmansky: The challenges of staging Ukrainian ballet during war

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

“The dancers have families. I have a family in Kyiv. We are all checking the news constantly,” Ratmansky, who grew up in Ukraine, told the Hardtalk programme’s Stephen Sackur.

“You wake up in the morning and you want to know which cities were bombed, how many people were killed, which buildings were destroyed and check that all your loved ones are OK and safe.”

The United Ukrainian Ballet is a group of Ukrainian dancers, technicians and creatives who fled their country when Russia invaded and are now based in the Netherlands.

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

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