As a member of the Russian Ballet-Theatre, Masayo Kondo feels the fierce fighting in Ukraine weighing on her from all sides.
The Japanese ballerina and her fellow cast members learned about the Russian invasion during their current tour of the United States.
Although there are Russians and Ukrainians in the troupe, the members are united in their opposition to the war.
Before each performance, a large message appears on stage that reads: “We are dancing for peace”.
“There are no national borders in the arts,” said Kondo, 28. “I will dance for peace.”
Born in Miyazaki in southern Japan, Kondo started ballet when she was only 3 years old and then studied for three years in Kyiv after graduating from high school. She now resides in Moscow.
Kondo hasn’t forgotten his roots, and in November brought Russian instructors to Miyazaki to offer local children the opportunity to interact personally with ballet dancers.
The troupe to which Kondo belongs entered the United States in early February and began their tour in New York. It was the first overseas tour in two years, with the hiatus caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. A total of 52 performances are scheduled in 48 cities.
Among the forty actors, seven Ukrainians. They constantly followed the latest developments in their home country through their smartphones.
A bombing occurred a few hundred meters from a member’s family home. Others cry because they are so worried about their families, according to Kondo.
She also contacted her friends in Ukraine. One of them left Ukraine with no clear intention of knowing where to go. Others slept in crowded stations, while some decided to stay at home.
“The situation can change in an hour,” Kondo said. “I can’t believe the places I used to live and see often turned into a battlefield.”
The touring cast tried to show their diversity and unity.
A group photo posted on social media includes each member’s country of origin, the Ukrainian flag, and a message that while they may be from various countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Japan, they are all united on one stage. .
Although each performance took place in front of packed crowds, not everyone welcomed the band from Russia. A restaurant in the United States refused to serve the members lunch after learning that they belonged to a Russian ballet group.
Phone calls demanded an immediate cancellation of the performances.
Kondo also received critical messages posted on his social media account.
Although she realizes that the situation in Ukraine could get worse, Kondo said: “Even if it happens, I believe that all actors, including the Russians, are opposed to this war. I want to keep dancing until the last performance while supporting my Ukrainian colleagues.