Russian evacuees to dance at Westside venues

5 Culver dancers to share stage with Russian performers

Photo by Todd Lechtick ON THEIR TOES—Westside dancers from left are Serena Klipfel (14), Isla Segar (10), alumnus and guest artist Adrian Blake Mitchell; Heath Olvera (9), Linka Tiesiera (10) and Evelyn Chung (10).

Five Culver City dancers will share The Broad Stage with five professional guest artists in Santa Monica on May 7. Westside Ballet already hosted three pro dancers who recently fled from Russia on April 28. According to a statement, “their stories are very compelling — two walked across the border from St Petersburg to Estonia on foot. These professional dancers are giving ‘Dance Talks’ April 28 at Westside Ballet about their experiences fl eeing from the war.” Heath Olvera is one of the local dancers and he says that he started dancing fi ve years ago but, “it only really started growing on me this year when I was in Nutcracker.” He practices three times a week, and he thinks that the Russian dancers who fl ed the war are very brave. As for the shows that are coming up: “I’m really excited to see Adrian dance,” Olvera says. “He seems so tall and athletic and I don’t get to see many boys dance!” Olvera is referring to Adrian Blake Mitchell who, along with his wife Andrea Laššáková, resigned from the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St. Petersburg. They will perform Oleg Vinogradov’s stirring Barber’s Adagio at Westside Ballet’s A Petite Soirée, Sat., May 7. In a statement, Mitchell said, “I fell in love with Russia, and its people, despite its flaws.” “I’m really excited about next year’s Nutcracker, and the Spring show when I’m older,” said Olvera. There are performances of Masquerade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Rich Man’s Frug and Grand Défilé coming up. Go to for more information.