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Ukrainian Ballerinas Turn Swan Lake into Subversive Anti-Putin Performance

Published: May 2, 2014 (Issue # 1808)



  • Ukrainian ballerinas performed the Swan Lake ballet in protest of President Vladimir Putin
    Photo: Zen Whisk / Flickr

Ballerinas in the Ukrainian city of Odessa have performed a dance from the Swan Lake ballet for Russian President Vladimir Putin — but the gesture was far from salutary.

The dance, performed to music by composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky outside Odessa's military history museum, was a nod to a Soviet-era tradition, the performance's organizer said, noting that state-run television traditionally aired classical music during periods of great change in the Soviet Union.

"For millions of Soviet people, televised performance of the world-renowned ballet 'Swan Lake' always signaled a change in the country's leadership — either the death of the Secretary-General, or his ouster as a result of a coup," regional lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko said when introducing the performance in front of Ukrainian television cameras.

"Because Vladimir Putin has made a fatal mistake by unleashing aggression against Ukraine, today Odessa, as a cultural capital, performs for him this portentous composition," he said in footage that aired on Ukrainian television and was posted online Wednesday.

The four ballerinas then proceeded with the pas de quatre from "Dance of the Little Swans."

It was not the first time that people in Odessa — a Black Sea port city famed around the former Soviet Union for its residents' wry humor and quick ripostes — have used music to demonstrate their views about Putin's annexation of the Crimea peninsula, just to the southeast.

In late March, artists from Odessa's philharmonic showed up at the city's Privoz market to perform Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," the national anthem of the European Union. The four-minute concert was greeted with applause and cheers from market-goers.

Earlier, when Russia dispatched troops to Crimea citing the need to "protect" Russian speakers in Ukraine, Odessa's artists and comedians posted an online video, with various people pretending to call Putin on the phone to tell him, in Russian: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, go home."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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