Editorial – Roll out the blue carpet

Published 6:03 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

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Blue-and-yellow flags have adorned lawns and hung from porches throughout Suffolk since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Even the Suffolk Visitor Center at Main and Constance got in on the display of solidarity, illuminating its exterior in the Ukrainian national colors.

Maybe the staff there knew before the rest of us about some particularly special visitors coming to town in the fall. That time has come. The Kyiv City Ballet will take up residency this week in Suffolk, its only Virginia stop on a 15-city U.S. tour. Suffolk is in heady company on the list of host cities, which include major metropolises Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Minneapolis and New Orleans.

City dignitaries will formally welcome the 45 performers and crew members at a reception Monday evening at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, kicking off four days of activities. The ballet company will hold an education program for local schoolchildren and two master classes Tuesday, then perform for the public at 7 p.m. Wednesday, a “Tribute to Peace” Ukrainian repertoire, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, the ballet classic “Swan Lake.”

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Tickets are available at www.SuffolkCenter.org for both performances. They are $25 for students up to age 15 and range from $45 to $65 for adults.

“Suffolk is privileged to welcome the members of the world-class Kyiv City Ballet to our beautiful city,” said Mayor Mike Duman. “Our community has watched the events in Ukraine with despair, and now it is our honor to offer a safe respite for these dancers, at least for a few days, while they share their art with us.”

The day before Ukraine was invaded by Russia last winter, the Kyiv City Ballet unknowingly took one of the last flights out of Kyiv, traveling to Paris to begin a long-planned tour of France. They have not returned home since as war continues to ravage their homeland.

“We are honored to share the beauty of ballet with U.S. audiences, through Ukrainian artists,” said Ivan Kozlov, artistic director of the Kyiv City Ballet. “Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement. It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”

We commend SCCA for landing a spot on the ballet’s U.S. tour and join many in the community in rolling out the red, or perhaps more fittingly, blue carpet for our special visitors.

Laskavo prosymo!