Milan welcomes tomorrow’s dancers and actresses from Ukraine. The language of the body and the scene is universal. Word of mouth among teachers, calls in private chat groups, historical contacts between academic institutions and schools studying the performing arts were enough to immediately develop projects to welcome Ukrainian students to Italy. Not just hospitality but concrete study opportunities.
So, in droplets and droplets and almost suddenly, the centers of high art education in our country they began to greet Ukrainian students in their classrooms. Without a trumpet call. Because art doesn’t belong to us. Dance and theater belong to the world. Of those who lived yesterday, live today and will live tomorrow. The smallestto give the exampleAcademy of the Teatro alla Scala andUkrainian Ballet Academythey came with her mothers. The older ones, as happened at Municipal Schools of Milan of which the Paul Grassi, alone. With trolleys and their immaterial baggage of experiences. Not only in the Lombard capital, but also in many other Italian cities.
Problems with idioms? Italy and Ukraine speak only one language in this case: those of dance and theater arts. A universal language that shows its strength even more in the dramatic moment in which we live. The Accademia del teatro alla Scala immediately welcomed little Ukrainian dancers fleeing the war to the ballet school. With their families. They are girls between the ages of 8 and 14 included in the preparatory and professional courses. they come from Dance academies in Kyiv, Karkhiv and other cities. To reach Milan they faced a long and dangerous journey. All found a place in elementary school. The first help request email? “It is from March 5th. But another twenty followed and are still arriving,” explains the director Frederic Olivieri. Who adds: “An audition was not necessary, They were all trained students. They were involved in appropriate courses”. The theater has also set up a current account for their practical needs and arranged them accommodation with voluntary associations.
Same situation for themUkrainian Ballet Academy, born in Milan in 2005 at the suggestion of the office of the same name in Kyiv. At the onset of hostilities between Ukraine and Russia, the Academy contacted those still living in the capital who had contributed to the birth and founding of the Italian branch in the past. Irina Skripnik, a Ukrainian teacher, was the first to arrive. She lived in the Kiev subway for a while and just arrived He sent many of his students who had fled the Ukrainian capital to the academy. The result? Today they are there 18 students from Kyiv, with at least one parent or relatives, for a total of almost 40 people. Some families live in theInstitute of Marcelline where next to the Arcimboldi, the academy is based. Others are welcome in families. “Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Belarusian and Italian teachers have always worked together,” explains the director Catherine Calvino Prina. In short, we are a center where the encounter between nationalities is a daily teaching practice “.
But everything is handled with great grace. “At the Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan – continues Calvino Prina – we will be performed on April 30th and May 1st with ‘Coppelia’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The shows are danced by the Italian students but we have given our guests complete freedom to choose whether or not to participate. The philosophy of the academy? To give Ukrainian guests the opportunity to continue learning dance and pursue a normal practice. However, your wish is only one: go home. “Although they were welcomed by their families, although they learn Italian and help each other with Google Translate, her wish is for the war to end To be able to hug grandparents or fathers who stayed in Kyiv, ”the director concludes.
A bit more difficult due to age and languagewas the reception of a dozen female students in the continuing education courses of the Foundation of the Milan Civic Schools. All of legal age. All come by themselves. Some have nothing, not even the money to buy a phone card and call family members left behind in Ukraine. With them only the passion for the theater and the preparation acquired at home. They come from different regions of Ukraine and from schools such asUniversity of Arts and Culture and the Cyrcus and performing arts out of Kyiv. The outbreak of war has turned their lives upside down, threatening their security and future prospects. Why was your destination Milan? The Italian director and educator Matteo Spiazzi, which in the past had the teachers of the Paolo Grassi school among its teachers, was about to debut in Kyiv in a new show. The date? February 25th. But the war happened. So without wasting time the artist sent all her postal students to Milanor.
Now they are studying acting, directing, contemporary dance and music in a university center in every respect and at the end of their studies they complete the three-year degree. The music disciplines are studied at the Claudio Abbado school, theater at the Paolo Grassi school, cinema at the Luchino Visconti school. The first school day? He flew between the practical lessons in English with the teachers of the different courses. Two were accepted into the first year of acting studies, four into contemporary dance, three into theater directing, and three are expected in music school. How do you deal with the language? In this case the solution was immediate. Among the Civic Schools of the Milan Foundation there is also that for interpreter and translator Altiero Spinelli. So everything is done internally by internal resources. And then there are the grants, which cover room and board, transportation, phone cards, and basic needs.
“In this serious emergency – explains the manager Monica Gattini Bernabo – We have built a concrete project to host and train Ukrainian students studying with peers and passionate youngsters”. And he adds_ “We also promoted the other realities of the European network Europe Union of Theater Schools and Academies to which we belong”. A future still possible? The teacher Paulo Giorgio he is optimistic: “They follow the normal academic calendar. They are inserted into our reality with practically no difference from other students. Kind of Polytechnic of Arts who receives only 600 applications for admission to Paolo Grassi’s acting studies and only admits fifteen.
“The Eastern European theater school is strict, in dance, in directing and in acting, the use of a translingual method helps us a lot with integration”. The emotional aspect also weighs. Their families stayed there. They left their parents and brothers – Bernabò intervenes – They feel the need to tell their story. Telling the drama they are experiencing through the instruments of the theater”. You might imagine setting up your own documentary theater work. We let them do it. Nobody knows how long this war will last. In the meantime, the school children gave them the tickets they had bought for some shows in Milan. “In this moment they are, more than us, need positive impulses to discover the city and its cultural offerings“, Said.