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    Posted March 8, 2014 by
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

    MaiaKiev and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Ukraine crisis as it unfolds
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    Georgia is with Ukraine!


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     MaiaKiev attended a ballet performance in Kiev on March 8 to see the Georgian National Ballet. She says this was one of the very few performances that she knows of that didn't cancel because of the unrest in her country. She says instead they tailored their program to show support to Ukraine and Ukrainians. 'The audience welcomed the ballet with a lot of enthusiasm as the spirit of dance and music, longing for freedom, fiery celebration of freedom so much resonated with Ukrainian hearts. But when in the beginning of the performance the dancers marched with Ukrainian flag the audience gasped, like it took our breath away and then jumped to their feet and applauded,' she said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Georgian National Ballet gave a very special gift to Ukrainians today! Their performance in Kiev was themed with support for Ukraine! In the very first minutes dancer marched to the stage with a huge flag of Ukrainian. The audience jumped to their feet and exploded with applause. Later Georgians performed a typical Ukrainian dance “Gapak” and had another standing ovation from the appreciative spectators!


    The music and dances were resonating with Ukrainians very well – as they were expressing the longing for freedom, the fight for freedom and celebration of freedom. It must be a very common theme in cultures of countries that have big powerful neighbors with history of aggressive behavior.


    The performance was a fire! It was energizing and moving at the same time. At least for a time it seemed to lift the heavy mood of people who have been living for a while under a pending threat of war. The dancers seemed to inspire hope, power, national pride, determination to continue the fight for freedom.


    Georgians maybe better than any other nation right now understand what Ukraine is going through. In 2008 Putin did the same in Georgia, invading it and annexing part of the country, Northern Ossetia, under pretext of protecting Russian speakers there. Then Tbilisi (capital of Georgia) and many other cities were bombed and Russian tanks drove through most of the country. Once prosperous, now South Ossetia is a very poor region, which is for the most part abandoned by those who used to live there. Putin is trying to do the same thing with Crimea – the details of scenario he is playing now is painfully familiar from Georgia 2008.


    In the end of the performance Artistic Director and General manager of Georgian National Ballet, Tengiz Sukhishvili and his wife, Inga Tevzadze came to the stage and spoke to the audience, saying that they supported Ukraine’s stand for freedom and they hoped for free and undivided Ukraine. They ended with “Glory to Ukraine!” (a popular slogan during the recent protests) and the audience once again exploded with “Glory to Heroes!”

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