Refugees tell their stories by starring in Danish ballet 1 Favorite 


Jan 29 2016



As Denmark moves to deter refugees from crossing its borders, a new theater production dramatizing their plight seeks to change how many in the country perceive their new neighbors. Uropa: An Asylum-Seeker’s Ballet, [is] a dance piece performed in part by refugees portraying themselves.

Director Christian Lollike says that by allowing refugees to tell their own stories in their own words, the production smashes stereotypes and offers a narrative not typically shown on the news. “We talk a lot about refugees, and the media displays tons of pictures of refugees, both in Denmark as well as the rest of Europe,” he said in a press statement. “If you are left-wing, you may see them as destitute victims, where if you are right-wing, you may look at them as criminals who have come to steal our wealthy society.” But Uropa provides a stage to show “how they actually see their own situation,” he said.

The performers’ uncertain future in Denmark complicated the casting process. Two of the 10 asylum seekers recruited to star in Uropa dropped out after their applications for asylum were rejected, and one has gone into hiding, the Royal Danish Theatre said in a statement. Another refugee enlisted to perform in the play was expelled from Denmark after getting arrested. But the show must go on—the actor now participates via Skype. The other six refugees appearing in Uropa hail from Syria, Pakistan, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Uganda.

The sold-out Uropa is already proving a big hit among Danish audiences, but some cast members still don’t know how long they’ll be able to perform, let alone stay in the country.

- article excerpts from

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