Ballet organization faces criticism during Russian invasion of Ukraine

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A multinational ballet company, formerly known as the Russian Ballet Theater, faces criticism during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Now known as RBT, the group is scheduled to perform Friday, March 4 at the State Theater in Minneapolis.

Three years ago ballet dancers with RBT were set to tour the country with a performance of Swan Lake, but the coronavirus pandemic derailed those plans.

As the band resumes touring, it faces new scrutiny of its name.

“For some reason, when people see Russia, they immediately think it’s from Russia,” explained Gulya Hartwick, co-producer for RBT.

“We are an international ballet company with a multinational cast; we are not associated with any government,” Hartwick added.

Dominka Boyles, originally from Poland but now living in Minnesota, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that she thought the moment seemed insensitive when she first heard about the performance.

“My home, my original home is about an hour from the border with Ukraine,” Boyles said.

But Boyles changed his mind after learning of the organization’s name change and its support for Ukraine.

“They stand on the supportive side here…I think that’s good, and I think that’s very positive.”

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