Before opening night of the National Ballet of Ukraine’s show in Vancouver, a small group of dignitaries, donors, and other VIPs gather in a small room behind the stage.
Principal dancer Kryvokon Sergii steps up to the mic to talk briefly about the importance of the tour, and their excitement for landing in Vancouver.
“We are here on a very important mission to raise funds for families, for children, in Ukraine,” he says through a translator.
“We are eternally grateful for all your help and support for Ukraine,” adds principal dancer Olga Golytsia.
Then it’s time for the show, which is nothing short of breathtaking, as the dancers perform snippets from ballets including Le Corsaire, Giselle, Don Quixote, and Esmeralda, along with pieces by Ukrainian composers. Their technique is impeccable, with fouettes and grand jetes that have the crowd erputing into applause throughout the evening.
The live performance—part of a Canadian tour raising funds for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine—features gorgeous costumes. But there is something about seeing the dancers stripped down to their warm-up clothes, too; it brings focus back to the body. Below, photographer Tom Paillé gets a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsal prior to opening night.
The National Ballet of Ukraine will be at the Centre For Performing Arts to February 7.