ABERDEEN, S.D. — A professional ballerina from Ukraine has worked with Aberdeen dance students.

The Moscow Ballet’s prima ballerina, Olena Nalyvaiko, visited through Moscow Ballet’s Dance With Us program, which pairs young dangers with professional ballerinas and ballerinos for a performance, The American News (http://bit.ly/2d6xwUa) reported. Aberdeen is one of 20 cities across the country participating in the program.

“It’s nice,” Nalyvaiko said. “I like to work with kids in different cities because I also can explore. I can explore how families in United States live, and I also learn English more.”

Nalyvaiko auditioned dance students last week for parts in the upcoming “Great Russian Nutcracker” and worked with selected students.

“Some kids catch on so quickly they are so like (a) sponge,” Nalyvaiko said. “Some kids you need to repeat couple times, you need to have patience. I’m so unpatient a person, but I’m learning to be.”

Nalyvaiko will also work with local instructors who will teach the students until the performance. It’ll be the first and only time the international cast and the local students rehearse together.

“It’s nice to come back with our professional group and see how kids prepared,” Nalyvaiko said. “A lot of kids hug me. They are excited, very excited to see me back, see me on stage.”

The “Great Russian Nutcracker” performance will be held Nov. 29 in the Johnson Fine Arts Center.

“You can prepare for months and then you can perform like only five minutes,” Nalyvaiko said. “It’s like Olympic games. They prepare so much for just one second.”

Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com