Four Ukrainian dancers perform a Tchaikovskian protest in front of military tanks.

Four ballerinas in the Ukrainian city of Odessa have performed a pas de quatre from Swan Lakeoutside the city’s military history museum.

The performance, flanked by military tanks, was staged in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s recent maneuvres in Crimea. It also served as a rebellious nod to the soviet era tradition of televising Tchaikovsky’s ballet to signal a change in the country’s leadership.

“We are here to send a message that by unleashing aggression against Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has made a fatal mistake”, said regional lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko to Ukrainian television cameras when introducing the performance. “Today Odessa, as a cultural capital, performs for him this portentous composition.”

In a brief interview post-performance, one of the ballerinas also stated “the importance of the Ukrainian people standing together during this difficult time”.

For the artistic community in Odessa, it is not the first time they have protested against Putin’s military presence in Ukraine. In February, when Russian soldiers were despatched in Crimea after citing the need to “protect” Russian speakers, various artists and comedians posted online videos in which they pretended to call Putin on the phone and tell him, in Russian, “Vladimir, go home.”

In March,...