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A ballet dancer from the Territorial Defense Forces

Illustration: #TaniaYakunova


Olesia Vorotniuk, an artist of the National Opera of Ukraine, believes that ballet and military discipline have a lot in common. In both cases, you need to do your job despite the pain and fatigue. When Russia launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Olesia didn’t consider going abroad, instead she decided to defend the country with the weapons in hand. So did her military husband, who was killed by Russian militants three years ago in the east of Ukraine.

So the ballerina signed up in the Kyiv Territorial Defense Forces. She knew how to shoot, but Olesia was still not accepted right away: there were a lot of applicants, preference was given to men with military experience. Later, the woman still managed to join the territorial defense, she was given a Kalashnikov rifle and sent to work at checkpoints. Olesia also helped evacuate people and took them to safer regions in the west of Ukraine.

At the beginning of June, Olesia decided to return to the National Opera: the Russian troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast, so now the woman can dance again. Her first performance in wartime Kyiv was the polka-mazurka Die Libelle by Josef Strauss.

However, the ballerina knows that she can be called into service again at any time. Olesia hones her shooting skills every day and volunteers. After all, the war with Russia is far from over.

"There was a myth about great Russia and its great army. We saw the truth: they came to steal our toilets. And I observed Russian culture in Bucha and Irpin," the ballerina says. Likewise, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake no longer exists for her after all the crimes and atrocities committed by the Russians against Ukrainians.


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