Against Indifference: After Denouncing the War, This Russian Prima Ballerina Left Bolshoi to Dance in the Netherlands - Arts & Culture

We may not be at the epicenter of the military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe.”

Olga Smirnova, a Bolshoi prima ballerina, has denounced her country’s invasion of Ukraine and is leaving Russia for Dutch National Ballet.

Earlier this month, Smirnova, who has danced for Bolshoi for ten years, said, “I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia; I have always been proud of talented Russian people, of our cultural and athletic achievements.

READ ALSO: Supporting Ukraine: LVMH Pledges $5.5 Million For War Victims And Haults Retail Operations In Russia

“But now I feel that a line has been drawn that separates the before and the after. It hurts that people are dying, that people are losing the roofs over their heads or are forced to abandon their homes.

“And who would have thought a few weeks ago that all of this would happen? We may not be at the epicenter of the military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe.”

Warm welcome

The Dutch National Ballet’s director Ted Brandsen welcomed the 30-year-old to the organization in a statement. “It is a privilege to have her dance with our company in the Netherlands, even if the circumstances that drove this move are incredibly sad,” Brandsen said.” Nevertheless, as a company, we are pleased to have such an inspiring dancer join us at Dutch National Ballet.”

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A post shared by Olga Smirnova (Official page) (@leka.spb.ballet)

Smirnova is one of many dancers who have left Russia’s Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballet. However, the other talents have not been Russian such as Italy’s Jacopo Tissi, the UK’s Xander Parish, and Brazil’s David Motta. 

Another upheaval

According to the New York Times, Smimova’s departure is just one of the disruptions the war has triggered at the Bolshoi.

Its former artistic director Alexei Ratamansky is now in residence at the American Ballet Theatre despite preparing for a Bolshoi’s new ballet in Moscow. Ratamansky quickly left Russia after it invaded Ukraine. 

On if he’ll return, Ratamansky told the publication that he wouldn’t “if Putin is still president.”

Banner photo from @leka.spb.ballet on Instagram.

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