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Russian ballerina's refugee camp visit to inspire new "Carmen"

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 01:08

Russian ballet star Irina Kolesnikova tours a refugee camp in Macedonia to inspire a new ballet version of ''Carmen'', set in a refugee camp on ''the fringes of Europe''. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The plight of thousands of migrants stranded in the Balkans has helped inspire Russian prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova to prepare for a new ballet version of "Carmen" - this one set in a refugee camp. Kolesnikova, more normally seen dancing with the St Petersburg Ballet, is working with charity Oxfam to draw attention to unaccompanied children who are among the wave of refugees that has swept into Europe over the past few years, many of them fleeing conflict zones. She visited the Tabanovce refugee camp close to Macedonia's border with Serbia on Wednesday, meeting the hundreds of migrants trapped there by Balkan border closures. Her experiences will influence the new dance interpretation of Bizet's opera Carmen, a tragic tale of jealously and love between a soldier and a gypsy woman. "Her name was Carmen", choreographed by Russian Andrei Kuznetsov-Vecheslov, is set in a r camp "on the fringes of Europe". It will be premiered by Kolesnikova and the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater at the London Coliseum in August before taking on a world tour. Part of the proceeds from London ticket sales will go to help Oxfam's work. She said she felt "a state of shock" when she visited the camp, where migrants gathered around her. "The psyche of these children is already traumatized and they need help. Their eyes have seen things we cannot imagine, not in our dreams. Horrors they went through and have seen. They were ... hugging me, a strange woman. I was nobody for them. Maybe they have seen an image of security in me," she said. She said a girl put a toy ring on her finger and she found this so powerful she was now looking for a way to incorporate the flower-shaped ring into the new production.

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Russian ballerina's refugee camp visit to inspire new "Carmen"

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 01:08