In a graceful form of peaceful protest, a Russian dancer has performed an iconic dance to save a bay that holds special memories from her childhood. Ilmira Bagautdinova, dressed in nothing more than a tutu and pointe shoes, danced for several minutes in arctic temperatures on the deep-frozen surface of Batareinaya Bay to music from the ballet Swan Lake in several videos she uploaded to Facebook. Unphased by the frigid weather, Ilmira’s dance holds an unwavering message about a special body of water near the dancer’s home.

The beautiful yet poignant video highlights the recent news that an industrial grain processing site is set to be constructed on the bay that Ilmira loves so deeply. Ilmira says that some of her most memorable childhood days were spent playing on the sandy beaches of Batareinaya Bay in the summer, and sledding near its shores in the winter. She was inspired to perform dances from the ballet Swan Lake because of the swans which occupy the waters in the spring and summer.

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“A unique natural and historical place where swans nest in spring, families with children rest in summer, hundreds of fishermen go out on the ice in winter, and the forest has trails for quad bikes and skiers. Nature in harmony with people. All of this is at risk of extinction.”, she captioned the Facebook video.

29-year-old Ilmira is an esteemed dancer known for her graceful performances and “delicate lightness” in her movement and has performed in countless ballets and films around the world. The idea of a sacred place from her childhood being subject to pollution and degradation, however, humbled the accomplished performer.

Source: BBC News/YouTube

Ilmira states that people all over the region have grown deeply concerned about the future of the bay, and water cleanliness in the surrounding Gulf of Finland. “I have never taken part in eco-activism,” she stated in a video, “This is not a project as such, it’s a cry for help.”

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Ilmira urges supporters of her protest to sign the petition to save Batareinaya Bay from the construction of the proposed grain mill.

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