Kyiv City Ballet sell out return to York Theatre Royal but Crowdfunder donations welcome to cover costs of Ukrainians’ visit

Dancers from Kyiv City Ballet at York Theatre Royal on their June 2022 visit. Picture: Tom Arber

KYIV City Ballet will return to York on a special visit next week, climaxing with a fundraising gala performance at York Theatre Royal.

The 30-strong Ukrainian dance troupe first performed there last June, playingto a full house, at the invitation of Tom Bird, the then chief executive.

Plans for their 2023 stay include a primary school visit and a lunch with Ukrainian families based in York, as well as An Evening With Kyiv City Ballet on March 30 at 7.30pm at the Theatre Royal.

Directed by Ivan Kozlov and Ekaterina Kozlova, the evening will feature excerpts from the ballets Tribute To Peace, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Les Sylphides and Paquita. All funds raised will support Kyiv City Ballet and York Theatre Royal’s ongoing partnership.

Aelita Shekchuk dancing at York Theatre Royal last June. Picture: Tom Arber

Businesses in York and beyond have come together to ensure the Ukrainian dancers receive a warm welcome to the city once again. Eurostar and LNER have stepped in to arrange their travel from France to York, while hotels within Hospitality Association York are collaborating to offer 24 rooms for the company to rest during their stay.

Those hotels include The Grand; Middletons; No.1 by Guest House; Elmbank; York Pavilion; Marriott; Queens Hotel; Hampton by Hilton; Malmaison; Hilton York; Middlethorpe Hall and Mercure York Fairfield Manor Hotel, who have all offered their hospitality.

The dancers will be treated to a tour of York Minster and an evening river cruise, provided by City Cruises, as part of their visit.

The gala performance has sold out but those unable to attend can support the event via Crowdfunder donations to The funds raised will help to cover the costs involved in the visit and ensure the company can continue to spread the vital message of hope through its inspirational work.

Aelita Shevchuk and Nazar Korniichuck of Kyiv City Ballet

Michael Slavin, interim chief executive of York Theatre Royal, says:“We were overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the city when Kyiv City Ballet made their visit to York last year and we are thrilled to be able to build on this ongoing partnership by inviting them back once again.

“They are an immensely talented group of artists, and we are delighted to share our stage with them once more. A huge thank-you to all the businesses across York who have come together to help us celebrate and share the rich and amazing culture of the city and to all our audience members and donors who have made this event happen.”

Ekaterina Kozlova, associate director of Kyiv City Ballet, says: Our visit to York last year was so special and we are so happy to be returning once again. We can’t wait to experience more of what the beautiful city of York has to offer, to meet people in the community and share our work with audiences.” 

Kyiv City Ballet dancers arrive at York Station last June. Pictured, back row, centre, are director Ivan Kozlov and York Theatre Royal’s then chief executive, Tom Bird (in Ukrainian blue and yellow). Picture: Ant Robling