Students won't have to travel overseas to see a performance by a Russian Ballet this week — and better yet, it's free.
The UCF Russian Club will be hosting the Russian Ballet on Sunday to benefit the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization, the Balkan Flood Relief and the Russian Study Abroad. The doors to the Student Union Pegasus Ballroom will open at 4:30 p.m. and the ballet will begin at 5 p.m.
"The idea of having a fall gala with the Russian Ballet started with our first president," said current UCF Russian Club president Irina Pidberejna. "[David Mole] and his wife worked in Ukraine with the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization and he wanted to raise funds for that organization."
The Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization is one of the only certified organizations for Down syndrome in Ukraine. It aids those who have Down syndrome and helps them live their lives to their full potential.
"Here in the United States, a lot of people take for granted or are just accustomed to having equal opportunities because of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Pidberejna said. "And things like having equal access in terms of classroom facilities or anywhere you go in the streets, there aren't accommodations for people who have disabilities [in Ukraine]."
The money raised from the event will also benefit the Balkan Flood Relief, which helps restore facilities damaged after a flood in southern Europe that affected about 1.7 million people. The Russian Study Abroad, which will also be benefited, helps promote Russian language and culture and gives students the opportunity to be fully immersed.
Although the event is free, a ticket is needed to attend because seating is limited. The free tickets can be obtained by contacting the Russian Club though its Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. When students receive their tickets, they have the option to donate to the causes.
The first time the Russian Club hosted the Russian Ballet in 2013, it raised about $1,500 after the cost of the ballet. Thus, the club has set $1,500 for its goal this year, as well.
Aside from benefiting three organizations, Pidberejna said that students should attend the event because ballet and theater culture are important.
"This is a great opportunity to see a professional ballet performance," Pidberejna said. "And I think everyone should experience [this] at least once in their lifetime."