Katja Khaniukova and Aitor Arrieta in Gala “Dance for Ukraine” © National Opera Kiyv/ Ksenia Orlova


Ukrainian spirit

Anyone who has seen Katja Khaniukova dance will know that she is exquisitely beautiful and fragile but during our conversation it becomes apparent that while she is softly spoken, she has remarkable determination and resolve, qualities that are helping her to navigate the horrors experienced by the people in her home country of Ukraine. Born in Kyiv, she trained at the Kyiv State Choreographic Institute and then became a principal dancer with the Kyiv Ballet.

Katja Khaniukova and Irek Mukhamedov in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings, Photo Laurent Liotardo
With Jeffrey Cirio in „Giselle“ © ENB

Subsequently she joined English National Ballet in 2014 and has since danced many principal and soloist roles including the title role in Mary Skeaping’s Giselle, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Clara in Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker and most notably Frida Kahlo in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings opposite Irek Mukhamedov’s Diego Rivera. In 2020 she won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for her portrayal of this role. She is also an international guest artist who, among other things, just before the war broke out in Ukraine, performed the much coveted bedroom pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon in Kyiv, with Aitor Arrieta…

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