Kharkiv Dance School Offers Refuge for War-Affected Children and Youth


In Kharkiv, Ukraine, a dance school is offering children and young people, many of whom are internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict, a unique form of respite from the war. Founded by dance teacher Natalia, the school aims to provide an emotionally safe space where the physical exertion of dancing helps relieve stress. Among the students is 14-year-old Elizaveta, who, along with her family, fled her village as the conflict approached. The dance school not only helps in improving the children’s social lives but also plays a crucial role in building their self-confidence and trust, key elements that have been significantly affected by the war.
  • The dance school in Kharkiv serves as a sanctuary for children and young people affected by the war, offering them a chance to escape their realities through dance.
  • Natalia, the dance teacher, has created a safe and emotionally supportive environment aimed at helping students switch off from the outside world and enjoy themselves.
  • Many of the children attending the school are internally displaced persons who had to leave their homes due to the conflict, including 14-year-old Elizaveta who lived in a metro station with her family for four months upon arriving in Kharkiv.
  • Elizaveta’s family, like many others, has struggled with adapting to their new life in Kharkiv, dealing with air raids, missiles, and the mental and physical toll of the war.
  • The dance school not only provides a physical outlet for the children but also aims to rebuild their trust and self-confidence, crucial aspects that have been undermined by their experiences with the war.
  • Natalia and her husband, Alexi, use dance to teach important life skills such as trust, leadership, and overcoming fears.
  • Students like Elizaveta find joy and a sense of normalcy in dancing, stating that it feels like something is missing when they can’t dance.

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