September 22, 2023

Ukrainian ballet dancers proceed their schooling at The Rock College


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Since Russia’s invasion started, thousands and thousands of refugees have fled Ukraine.

Amongst these refugees is a bunch of younger ballet dancers who at the moment are in Philadelphia. They’re persevering with their schooling at The Rock College for dance schooling in South Philly.

“The emotions that I’ve once I’m dancing,” Nikita Malak mentioned. “I am free and I like that I am doing it. It is a very nice feeling.” 

Sixteen-year-old Malaki can nonetheless dance 1000’s of miles away from his dwelling in war-torn Ukraine.

“I prefer it right here however I nonetheless fear about my household in Ukraine,” Malak mentioned. “I textual content them I name them every single day I nonetheless take into consideration them.”

Malaki is one in all 4 ballet dancers from Ukraine who at the moment are persevering with their schooling at The Rock College in South Philly. They arrived in Philadelphia in late January and two extra dancers are awaiting visas.

“The bombs have been every single day,” Artem Bilokon mentioned. “So sure it is a bit of bit troublesome my mother and father are there.”

The coed refugees vary in age from 14 to 18 years outdated. Along with dancing, English as a second language can be a part of the curriculum.


“It does not know boundaries,” president and director Peter Stark mentioned. “It does not know borders, it does not know politics. Artwork is the place we come collectively as a individuals.”

Stark is the president and director of the varsity. They host dancers from 10 nations and 23 states.

“The truth that we’re capable of practice them right here is the very best of the very best,” Stark mentioned.

Regardless of the turmoil taking place in Ukraine, the scholars can be in Philadelphia honing their expertise for the following 12 months they usually’ll determine the remainder of their lives.

“It is your life,” Alina Soloviova mentioned. “It is your love.”

The Rock College is partnering with Youth America Grand Prix to accommodate the dancers. The Grand Prix is the biggest ballet scholarship program on the planet.

Regardless of the present hardship at dwelling, the dancers say giving up on their goals wasn’t an choice.

“She needed to do it and even contemplating what is going on on it was by no means a risk that she would not do it,” Lena Sarazhynska mentioned.

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