Russian Ballet Theater to spread message of peace, unity in Iowa amid Russian invasion in Ukraine

Members say they have no ties to Russian government
The Russian Ballet Theater will focus its performances on a message of peace and unity amid Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Russian Ballet Theater is an independent, multinational touring ballet company.

”We can rehearse anywhere,” member Gulya Hartwick said. “We could rehearse in Bali if we felt like it, but tickets are expensive. But that would be nice.”

On Wednesday they were rehearsing at the Five Flags Theater in Dubuque, preparing for a show. The Russian Ballet Theater’s members come from nine different countries, including Russia and Ukraine.

”We all come from different backgrounds, we all have something to bring to the table and to the audience,” Hartwick mentioned.

She recognizes, though, these past few days have been challenging.

”It is hard to dance with tears in your eyes, but we still make it happen,” she confessed

Those tears coming after Russia invading neighboring Ukraine. Hartwick said, after the invasion, they have heard from many people discouraging them from performing. She said, though, they have no ties to Russian government.

”Russian ballet is a style of dance and that is where the name comes from,” she explained. “We are not associated with any government. We are self-funded, self everything.”

Their tour has now become something more, Hartwick said: an opportunity to spread a message.

”We are on a mission now: we bring this message of ‘we dance for peace to everyone’,” Hartwick added. ”I think we are a living proof of how countries, how different nations can come together on one stage and create something beautiful instead of destroying it.”

Staff at the Five Flags Theater said they also have had to answer calls from people asking why they would host the Russian Ballet Theater. Despite that, they said Wednesday’s show was almost sold out.

The Russian Ballet Theater will be performing in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, March 6.

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