Kyiv pays hommage to beloved dancer killed in combat

AFP , Saturday 17 Sep 2022

Hundreds of people gathered in Kyiv on Saturday to say farewell to beloved Ukrainian ballet dancer Oleksandr Shapoval, who was killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Oleksandr Shapoval, a ballet dancer soloist funeral
Colleagues, family and attendees take part in the funeral ceremony of volunteer soldier, Oleksandr Shapoval, a ballet dancer soloist of the Ukrainian National Opera who died during combat against Russian troops in Donetsk region, at The Opera House in Kyiv on September 17, 2022. AFP


Some dropped to their knees and others clapped as soldiers carried his casket draped in a Ukrainian flag into the National Kyiv Opera.

Relatives, colleagues, soldiers and fans came holding flowers, some tears in their eyes, walking past photos of the artist on stage and on the frontlines. Shapoval's two teenage daughters were in the crowd.

Shapoval, 47, had been a ballet dancer with the Kyiv Opera since 1994.

He retired and started teaching dance in 2021, before volunteering to help defend his country on February 25, the day following Russia's invasion.

After Russian troops withdrew from Kyiv, Shapoval fought in the eastern industrial Donbas region.

He died in mortar shelling near Mayorsk, in the Donetsk region, on September 12.

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