Ballet star finds ft in Georgia after quitting Russia over Ukraine conflict By Reuters




© Reuters. Ballet star Laura Fernandez, who left her life behind in Russia and joined the State Ballet of Georgia, practises throughout a rehearsal in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 19, 2022. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze


(Fixes byline)

By David Chkhikvishvili

TBILISI (Reuters) – When Laura Fernandez’s fellow dancers on the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow started discussing the conflict in Ukraine, she knew she must go away.

Swiss-born, with a Ukrainian mom, Fernandez, 24, was a soloist on the Stanislavsky and rising star of the ballet world when Russian President Vladimir Putin despatched troops into Ukraine in late February.

“It was simply very troublesome to be within the dressing room as a result of folks began to debate (the conflict)…” she informed Reuters.

“They’d say ‘no worries, it can finish in per week, all the things goes to be effective’, however I knew it is not, it was already beginning after which it obtained worse and worse.”

She additionally feared for her relations in her mom’s hometown of Mariupol, the southeastern port metropolis devastated throughout a chronic siege earlier than it lastly fell in Might, and the influence it was having on her mom’s psychological well being.

“I left as a result of it was morally simply very troublesome for me to stay there as a result of I do know what Putin was doing to my household in Ukraine,” she stated.

“I imply our household in Mariupol, we misplaced all the things: two, no three flats. My household needed to go away the nation with out something. They did not have something, they could not take something.

“And in addition, how the folks (in Russia) talked concerning the scenario – it was very troublesome for me to listen to: I’d exit of the room with tears in my eyes, attempting to carry myself.”


Fernandez joined the Zurich Dance academy in 2010, aged 12, earlier than occurring to coach within the classical Russian type on the world-famous Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg, which she described as “a dream”.

She had been on the Stanislavsky since 2020 when she determined to go away Russia in March, one among a number of outstanding dancers and choreographers, together with Bolshoi prima ballerina Olga Smirnova, to give up the nation over the Ukraine conflict.

In Might, she joined the State Ballet of Georgia (SBG) in Tbilisi, the place she spoke to Reuters in an interview in between rehearsals of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker, which the SBG is taking up tour subsequent month.

In between dancing for the SBG, she can be performing in worldwide gala occasions, together with journeys this 12 months to Sydney and Los Angeles.

She is having fun with life in Tbilisi, she stated, however has not given up hope that she might return to Moscow at some point.

I do know it is all Putin and lots of people are towards him; they’re simply afraid of him, so they do not act,” she stated.

“So, I am not towards Russia, I like Russia, I like Moscow. I even have some nice buddies in Moscow and I actually loved my life there. However, in the intervening time, I’m simply not prepared but to return.”

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