NEW YORK — Professional dancers from the city and abroad took the stage Friday for a one-night-only performance to raise humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Several, including a refugee, shared their personal stories with CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
A couple put their hearts in the performance, but even doing what they love, they couldn’t take their minds off family in Ukraine.
“The last six weeks have been a total nightmare. My life has turned upside down completely because my family is in Mariupol,” said Antonina Skobina, a dancer from Brooklyn.
Skobina shared a photo of her hugging her mother and wants nothing more than to do that again. She has had no contact with her family since early March.
“I do know my grandfather passed away in the middle of March from lack of medication,” Skobina said.
“The war is still going on and it’s easy to get tired of it, but we would just like to ask people to keep helping as much as they can because it’s not over yet,” dancer Denys Drozdyuk said.
That’s what the benefit at the Florence Gould Hall Theater was all about — raising awareness and money for Ukraine.
“It’s all going to the Friend Fund, which is directly buying medical supplies, food, clothing for mothers, babies, and the military,” said Kimberly Giannelli, co-producer for IHeartDanceNYC, an initiative started during the pandemic to help get dancers back on stage.
Now, the organization is using the power of dance to unite for Ukraine. Each performance is so moving and each dancer has a story of why they’re on stage.
Liza Bidelko, an 11-year-old refugee, left Kyiv with her parents and siblings.
“They were crying and they were afraid,” Bidelko said.
Another pair left their jobs with a prestigious ballet company in Russia.
“Seeing what was happening in Ukraine made us want to leave Russia,” dancer Adrian Mitchell said.
“We can’t really help, but we can dance,” Andrea Lassakova added.
They are all dancing to make a difference, one step at a time.
The dancers all donated their time and talents to be part of the show and performed to a sold-out theater.