Franklin City Public Schools helps welcome Kyiv City Ballet

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022

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The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts hosted a reception on Sept. 19 to welcome the Kyiv City Ballet from Ukraine to perform and even teach some master classes. Among the many regional guests present to greet the dancers was Special Programs Assistant Almeta Davis, representing Franklin City Public Schools. She was accompanied by her husband, Frank Davis, who took photographs at the event for FCPS.

An FCPS news release noted that, as reported in media such as the Suffolk News-Herald and The New York Times, the Kyiv City Ballet company has been traveling in a unique circumstance. The members left for a tour in France the day before Russia invaded the members’ homeland in February. In late spring, the Kyiv City Ballet announced its first tour in the U.S., and Suffolk became one of those few destinations in which the dancers were set to share their artistry.

Ivan Koslov, the company’s artistic director, is quoted saying the following about their visit: “We are honored to share the beauty of ballet with U.S audiences, through Ukrainian artists. Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement. It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.” 

Almeta Davis said that among the other guests at the reception were the Peanut City Cloggers, who gave a demonstration of their American style of dancing. Virginia Del. Clinton Jenkins, of the 76th District, was in attendance. Also at the reception was Michael W. Johnson, who retired as Southampton County administrator this past June. He is now working at The Elms Foundation, a branch of the Camp Family Foundations, both of which have benefited FCPS. Along with Johnson’s wife, Debbie, they were joined by Lynn Powell, affiliated with the Camp Foundations, and his wife, Susan. 

Davis explained that because of the language barrier, she was not able to speak with any of the dancers personally. But she did get to meet two members of the Tidewater Ukrainian School, Nataliia Sytnyk and Tetiana Ordono, a teacher and the general director, respectively.

Davis concluded, “I really thought it was a wonderful reception. I was very proud of the fact that Suffolk, with its close proximity to Franklin, was the only city in Virginia that was chosen to host the troupe and several performances. I was equally delighted to be afforded the opportunity to represent FCPS and spend the evening in the company of great people like the Johnsons and Powells.”