Chicago dance ensemble gives Ukrainian children a distraction from the war

Chicago — What may look like a typical day of distance learning is anything but for children in Ukraine. Their teachers, who are in Chicago, use dancing to distract them from the war.

“Our responsibility is to put a smile on our face. Act like nothing happened for these 45 minutes and focus strictly on the dance lesson. That’s all,” said Nastya Lototska, who is part of the ‘Ukrainian Dance Ensemble Hromovytsia, at CBS News.

Some of the children – whose faces will not be shown for their safety – are spending their nights in bomb shelters. Their dance teachers try to help them forget their fear with classes on Zoom.

“We’re happy to see them happy. But I’m happy to know what kind of parents they have because you’ve seen the strength, determination and resilience of the Ukrainian people and their patriotism,” said Tania Kurropa, who also does part of the dance ensemble, told CBS News.

“They tell you about their day or show us their pets, which is incredible given the circumstances,” Lototska added.

The dance school is in the Chicago neighborhood known as the Ukrainian Village, where large crowds recently gathered for an anti-war rally. Even primary school children have recently demonstrated in the neighborhood. They fight for the innocence of Ukrainian children on the other side of the world.

“They are our anchor of hope. They are our light. They remind us of what our purpose is,” Lototska said.

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