After two months of touring France, the dancers of the Kyiv Grand Ballet gave their last performance near Arcachon on Wednesday evening.
Before the performance of Swan Lake at the Cravey Theatre in La Teste-sur-Buch, the twenty young dancers of the troupe were glued to their phones, checking for updates for the ongoing fighting in their country.
"We are not feeling well, we are stressed, anxious. We are really very worried about everything that is happening in Ukraine", relates Vladislav Bondar, 25, who plays the sorcerer Rotbarth, one of the main roles from Tchaikovsky's ballet.
"My relatives are in an area where everything is calm and they are safe. Thank God. From time to time they hear the gunshots, the explosions", continues the dancer.
"On stage, I have to dance properly, keep my concentration and I have to keep smiling even if I don't want to," admits 26-year-old ballerina, Ksenia Dronova.
An emotional last performance
For their last performance at the Crazy Theatre, the full house greeted the troupe's entrance on stage to loud applause.
Families came with drawings and Ukrainian flags, and some were dressed in yellow and blue.
At the end of the show, hand on heart, the troupe sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
Lead ballerina, Kateryna Didenko, who plays the two main roles of Odette, the swan princess and her evil double, sang passionately with a raised fist and tears in her eyes.
Uncertainty for the dancers
The dancers say they do not want to return to their country, at the request of their families, and will continue to dance in Europe.
Vladislav Bondar says he may head to Germany to join another troupe, while Ksenia Dronova would like "to have refugee status in Europe even if, for the moment, nothing has been decided".
In Paris, the Opéra Garnier has offered to help them with accommodation or financial aid.
Check out the video above to see the Kyiv Grand Ballet's emotional final performance.