Kyiv dancer Daria Kostenko, who fled to Slovakia after the war in Ukraine broke out, is glad to be dancing with the Ukrainian Classical Ballet on a charity tour in Italy and Romania. Theaters and performance venues all over Ukraine shut down when Russia invaded, leaving numerous musicians, artists, and dancers out of work. Kostenko was one of 30 Ukrainian dancers gathered by artistic director Ivan Zhuravlov for the tour. "For ballet dancers, ballet takes up 90% of their brains," he says. "And now, the war canceled their professional life. It’s too difficult because it’s not just about work. It’s about your love, about your soul, about your spirit." Kostenko said it’s hard to keep a smile on her face while worried about her family in Kharkiv, but the tour helps. "If we stopped, Russia [would] win," says dancer Mariia Helchuk. "We must continue our lives, our culture—because Russia has bombed our museums and [other] important places, and we can’t stop it."

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