MEMBERS of the stranded Kyiv City Ballet have arrived in York ahead of a special gala performance at York Theatre Royal tomorrow.

The ballet company has been stranded in Paris since the Russian invasion of their country on February 24.

They were personally invited to York by Theatre Royal chief executive Tom Bird, and arrived at York Railway Station this evening.

They went straight to the Mansion House, where they were greeted by Lord Mayor Cllr David Carr and York Central MP Rachael Maskell.

They arrived to find messages of support from the people of York tied to the railings in front of the Lord Mayor’s official residence.

“Hold strong, the world is listening, God be with you all,” said one.

“Welcome to York! Peace and love, we stand with you!” said another.

York Press:

Messages of support on the railings in front of the Mansion House this evening

After a reception at the Mansion House, the ballet troupe were treated to a river cruise on the Ouse.

The ballet troupe will spend tomorrow rehearsing at the Theatre Royal, before their gala performance tomorrow evening – their first in the UK since Russia invaded their country.

Speaking on Zoom to The Press last week, the ballet company’s associate director Katya Kozlova said they were ‘so honoured, and very excited’ to be coming to York.

Tomorrow’s 7.30pm performance will open with a ballet class and question-and-answer. After a short interval, the company will then perform excerpts from its repertoire.

As with other concerts the company has performed in continental Europe since it became stranded, proceeds will go towards helping Ukraine - in this case to UNICEF's Ukraine appeal.

York Press:

Members of the Kyiv City Ballet enjoy an Ouse river cruise.  Picture: Ant Robling