From the Ukraine to Youngstown: Swan Lake Ballet

By Marah J. Morrison

Fifty-five ballet stars from the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, Ukraine, came to Youngstown to perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” Jan. 24 through 27 at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

Hosted by Classical ARTS Entertainment and the Deyor Performing Arts Center, the ballet is based on Russian folklore and a German legend. Prince Siegfried, a young, heroic prince works to free Odette, a swan maiden, from an evil spell. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her human form.

The ballet has four acts with one intermission, and the choreography was put together by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It is considered one of the most loved and mesmerizing of any classical ballet.

Photo courtesy of Classical ARTS Entertainment/The Jambar

Michael Art, the promoter for the full scale production of the ballet, said they performed in Youngstown 12 years ago and he was happy to come back to perform again.

“I’m very joyful to be here,” he said. “The professional dancers, the music of Tchaikovsky. It’s always beautiful to hear it.”

Art said the youngest dancer in the ballet is 18 and the oldest is 30, and the “Swan Lake” ballet is one of the most popular ballets out there.

“There is beautiful music and beautiful costumes,” he said. “It’s always interesting.”

Art also served as an interpreter for the company.

Anna Tyutyunnyk, a dancer in the ballet who was one of four swans, said she was looking forward to performing at DeYor, and it’s an incredible feeling.

Tyutyunnyk said the dancing of all of the swans in the ballet was the best part, and she is happy to be a part of the ballet company and to have an opportunity to dance and perform the ballet.

Iryna Morozova, another dancer in the ballet, said she has worked many years with the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, which is the oldest theatre in Odessa, Ukraine. In 1873, the theatre was destroyed by a fire, but was rebuilt by 1887.

“I am very glad to be able to dance here,” she said. “It’s a wonderful theater. I don’t have [many] opportunities to see [other] towns.”

Morozova said Youngstown is beautiful and she hoped others enjoyed the show.

Yura Chepil, a dancer from the Ukraine who performed in the ballet, said he has danced all of his life, and this ballet is like an art.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “I am very grateful [to] dance for an American audience.”

To learn more about the history of the Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, visit, and for more upcoming events at DeYor, visit