The National Theatre in Prague has opened its doors to Ukrainian children. For the third week now, the Ballet Preparatory School has organized free dance lessons for them. They are intended for children aged 6 to 12, from beginners to advanced. In addition, they can dance directly in the training hall of the State Opera. Czech ballet dancers donated ballet clothes to children from Ukraine through a collection.
“The cradle of ballet is in Ukraine and Russia; that is where ballet started. We thought that there must be some children who have already attended ballet schools at home, and we wanted to try to help them in some way,” explains Jana Jodasová, head of the National Theatre Ballet School.
Classes are held once a week, and so far, about 15 children have signed up for them, but new ones are coming every week. Among the newcomers on Wednesday was the only boy in the group, six-year-old Damian. Like him, many other dancers already had experience in ballet or gymnastics, for example, from home.
“But there are also kids here who have never done ballet and just liked it. So far, we’re getting to know each other. I’m finding out what the kids are capable of, and hopefully, we can put together some dances, their teacher Jodasová hopes.
She communicates with the children in Czech, learns Ukrainian words from them, and helps herself with her knowledge of Russian. The Ukrainian children communicate with the Czech children through dance.
“Every time from about half an hour onwards, our children from the preparatory school come running in and immediately grab their little hands and are happy to dance with them. The connection works,” the teacher thinks.
The National Theatre plans to hold ballet lessons for Ukrainian children until the end of June when the summer holidays begin.