National Opera of Ukraine
One of Ukraine’s leading ballet dancers is remembered as a “courageous romantic” after his death on the battlefield.
The National Opera of Ukraine announced with “unspeakable sadness” the death of Alexander Shapaval, one of the former leading dancers of the troupe and a teacher of the Kyiv State Choreographic College.
Shapaval died on Monday at the age of 48 “under enemy mortar fire,” the report said.
A few days after the Russian invasion, Shapaval volunteered to serve in the territorial defense of Ukraine, helping to defend the left bank of Kiev. Then he learned how to throw grenades. According to the National Opera of Ukraine, his unit was recently transferred to one of the “hottest zones” of the war-torn country. The Kyiv Independent, citing the “Ukraine Molodaya” publication, reports that Shapaval died in the battle near Maiorsk in the Donetsk region.
Shapaval was an “Honored Artist of Ukraine” – an official award for high achievements in performing arts. In 28 seasons, he played about 30 different roles. “He charmed them with his bright and beautiful, romantic-heroic dance, impeccable skill and deep conviction of every image he created on stage,” the company writes.
Famous Russian-American choreographer Alexey Ratmansky paid tribute to Shapaval on Facebook. Ratmansky’s United Ukrainian Ballet Company consists of about 60 Ukrainian refugee artists.
“Many of our dancers were friends, worked and studied with him,” writes Ratmansky, “I remember Sasha so well, he danced in my first ballets in Kyiv.” He died defending his land with arms in hand. Eternal memory and Thanks to the Hero!”
Ratmansky also expressed his indignation. “Cursed war, cursed Russian aggression that brings death and destruction!!”
Another artist of the National Opera of Ukraine, Artem Dacyshyn, was killed in March.
⚡️Ukrainian National Opera ballet dancer Alexander Shapaval died in battle.
Ballet soloist, Honored Artist of Ukraine Shapaval died on September 12 near Maiorsky, Donetsk region, reported the deputy editor-in-chief of “Ukraine molodaya” publication Valentina Samchenko. pic.twitter.com/aohR92cWKY
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 12, 2022