Odesa ballet dancer killed in combat mission for Ukraine

A dancer with Odesa Opera has been killed while fighting on the front line, the ballet company has said.

Rostyslav Yanchyshen, 31, was killed “while performing a combat mission,” the company, based in Ukraine’s southern port city, said on its Facebook page.

“For more than ten years, Rostyslav served at the Odesa Opera, and in the first days of the war he joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine to heroically defend Ukraine, which he loved above all else! As a result, the artist’s ballet flats were replaced by army boots, and the music of his favorite performances was replaced by the sounds of mortar fire,” the opera said.

A bright, talented, decent, intelligent man. He was one of the first to go to defend his homeland! Not by summons, not by order, but by his own decision,” said the head of the ballet company, Harry Sevoian.

The opera said that one of Yanchyshen’s most striking roles was that of a soldier dying, in the ballet “Trymai” (“Hold”).

As fate would have it, this role turned out to be prophetic for the artist.”

Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture paid tribute to Yanchyshen, calling his death an “unspeakable loss” in a Facebook post.

“From the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he wanted to defend his country from the invader, but the dancer was not accepted into the Armed Forces of Ukraine, so he volunteered and joined the territorial defense. At the front, he served as a machine gunner.”
“Rostyslav died on April 19 from a mortar attack, a month before his 32nd birthday. This is an unspeakable loss,” the ministry said.

Vadym Krusser, also a ballet dancer and Yanchyshen’s friend, told CNN that “he was a very positive person. There were no bad situations for him, he always looked for the positive in everything. It was his personal decision to go to the front.”

“Last time I talked to him was a few months ago. He was as positive as ever.”

Krusser added, “We had a minute of silence before we started work and many colleagues just couldn’t hold back the tears.”

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