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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

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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