After fleeing the war in Ukraine earlier this year, ballet dancer Olesya Skarikova will be performing in productions of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake in Ayr next month. The shows will be held in The Gaiety, with Sleeping Beauty being shown on October 10 and Swan Lake on October 11. Here, Olesya talks about the experiences and challenges she’s faced over the last six months.

What makes you jump out of your bed every morning?

Hopefulness that only good things await me in the new day. Well, and a daily morning class of classical dance in the theatre.

What is your favourite role to dance to currently?

At the moment, my favourite part is Swanilda from the ballet Coppelia. In addition to the fact that I am very impressed by her mischief, lightness, spontaneity, penchant for harmless adventures, this is also a significant role for me - my first big leading role that I ever danced.

What are you thinking about while you're dancing?

Going on stage, I try to find a balance between thoughts about the technique of the performance and how to convey sincere emotions to the audience.

What is your favourite ballet?

My favourite ballet is Romeo and Juliet, directed by Kenneth Macmillan. It combines acting and dance technique at the highest level.

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not just in a theatre) where would it be?

If it was possible, then I would not miss the chance to get invaluable experience at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.

As a child, I tried to write poetry, but I never showed them to anyone.

How do you relax after a performance?

Firstly, I like to slowly take off my makeup and spend some time in my dressing room, analysing my performance. It seems that the longer I am in the theatre after the final bow, the longer the pleasant aftertaste from the performance lasts. And secondly, I very much enjoy creating spa saloon sessions for myself to regenerate, nothing better than a hot relaxing bath Favourite Ballet dancer?

Queen of the dance, Marianela Nunez

If you could take anyone to dinner, who would you take?

My parents, who still remain in our hometown of Kharkiv. I really want to hug them!

What’s your life motto?

For the last six months there has only been one: “The darkest hour is always before dawn.”

We know that you are from Kharkiv in Ukraine. You left Ukraine in April 2022. How have you been dealing with leaving your home?

Yes, unfortunately, I had to leave my native Kharkiv for a while. Lithuania very warmly received me and then I moved to Slovakia, where I was preparing for this tour. As I answered above, my parents are still at home in Kharkov. I am very worried about them. Now my mornings begin with a call or message to them and watching the latest news about Ukraine and Kharkiv, in particular. But they, like me and like all Ukrainians, believe in the speedy and unquestioning victory for our country.

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake can be bought at The Gaiety’s website.