The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper Profiles Ukrainian Ballet in “Ukraine: Dancing in Defiance” with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour

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NEW YORK, NY – (September 11, 2023) – The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper, a CNN Original, continues with the remarkable story of Ukrainian ballet dancers who faced the wrenching decision to either leave their homes and show the world the face of Ukrainian culture, or stay behind to continue performing in a war zone. Featuring reporting from CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, “Ukraine: Dancing in Defiance” premieres on Sunday, September 17 at 8pm ET/PT.

This episode follows members of the Holland-based United Ukrainian Ballet Company, made up of dancers who were displaced from Ukraine in the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. CNN’s cameras capture intimate moments of dancers grappling with survivors guilt as their families remain on the front lines, all while remaining determined to fight for their culture. The pressure rises as they prepare to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC – one of the most prestigious stages in a country with the power to determine the fate of their nation. In Kyiv, Amanpour spoke with dancers who have chosen to stay and perform at the National Opera and Ballet Theater in their home country, offering a brief respite from the war to audiences and defending Ukrainian culture from annihilation, even as sirens and air raid alerts ring out. The theater reopened three months after the war broke out and limited its audience to a fifth of its capacity – the maximum its bomb shelter can hold.

“Speaking to this troupe of ballet dancers, we learn that making art during war is a form of resistance and defiance,” said Amanpour. “Ukrainians are also cementing their separate cultural heritage in the face of Russia’s attempts to deny and wipe out their history.”

The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper is executive produced by Susan Chun.

The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper will stream live for pay TV subscribers via, CNN connected TV and mobile apps on Sunday, September 17. “Ukraine: Dancing in Defiance” will be available on demand beginning Monday, September 18, 2023 to pay TV subscribers via, CNN connected TV and mobile apps, and Cable Operator Platforms. Past episodes of The Whole Story are available to stream now on Max.

The Whole Story is also available as a CNN Audio showcast. Visit or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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