Russian ballerina plays Swan Lake on ice to save Bay By Reuters

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© Reuters. Ballet dancer Ilmira Bagautdinova performs on the ice of the frozen Batareynaya Bay in the Leningrad region

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ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) – Dancer Ilmira Bagautdinova traded one of Russia’s most prestigious stages for the frozen waters of the Gulf of Finland to protest a construction project that locals say is threatening a unique natural habitat.

Braving the freezing temperatures in her pointe shoes and white tutu, Bagautdinova filmed herself performing arabesques and layers on the frozen waters of Batareinaya Bay after reading reports that a grain silo was about to be built on site.

The Mariinsky Theater dancer put the video online and added music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake to nod the swans who live in the area about 50 km west of St. Petersburg.

“This is a unique natural and historical place where swans nest in spring, where families with children go on vacation in summer, where hundreds of fishermen go on the ice in winter,” she wrote on Facebook (NASDAQ :). “All of this is threatened with destruction.”

The Russian news agency TASS reported last year that the Baltic Grain Terminal company plans to build a terminal worth 35 billion rubles ($ 477 million) in Batareinaya Bay.

Sodruzhestvo, an agro-industrial group that owns the Baltic Grain Terminal, declined to comment.

The Leningrad regional authority told Reuters that it had not issued a building permit for construction in the region.

Bagautdinova urged Russians to sign an online petition to President Vladimir Putin demanding that the bay be kept in its natural state. The petition has so far collected more than 7,650 signatures.

“It was my heart’s cry to save an amazing place that has a special meaning for me,” the 29-year-old told Reuters.

Bagautdinova said her family often visited the bay’s sandy beaches in the summer and sleighed there in the winter.

“It would be great if after my dance here construction stopped and we could save this amazing natural place,” said Bagautdinova. “But I don’t think it’s that easy.”

($ 1 = 73.4122 rubles)

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