Light Balance Kids, a young Ukrainian dance group, wowed viewers with a high-octane performance last month on the first episode of ‘America’s Got Talent: All-Stars.’ Dancers sway and dance in an upbeat video game-inspired routine, wearing LED-lit costumes and playing the role of players in a mega-video game.
Their performance impressed the judges enough to win the group a coveted “golden whistle,” quickly placing them in the final round, which will air on Monday, February 20.
The ultimate set of action, a castle covered in blue and gold flags and Ukraine’s coat of arms – the now-popular golden trident wear almost every day by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — reminding viewers that Light Balance Kids has a message to send.
“this performance Maryna Zaitseva, 15, a dancer in the troupe formerly based in Kyiv, said in an interview. Her father Zaitseva was fighting in the war and could not see his daughter perform in Los Angeles, where the show was filmed.
The team hasn’t been able to practice together since the war started. Some of the dancers have fled to other countries, like 17-year-old Mariia Honiukova, another dancer in the Light Balance Kids group, who is staying with relatives in the UK. The team tried to do some exercises on Zoom but it didn’t work out as expected.
Some members couldn’t go to Los Angeles because of the war. Some members of the Light Balance team, Children’s adult partner who had also appeared on the talent show before, joined to fill their positions. After reuniting, they only had five days to prepare for their first concert.
When the group came to film the show, “we wanted to tell everyone that, no matter what, light always wins and we are here to fight for Ukraine,” said Honiukova. “We want to tell the world what’s going on in our country.”
Even judge Simon Cowell, the show’s famously irritable creator, called the number “awesome” and the group’s best number to date. The audience cheered as the group members cried and hugged each other on stage, piles of yellow confetti swirling around them.
The All-Stars season is a spin-off of the popular talent show, with beloved artists from previous seasons returning to compete for the winning title. Light Balance Kids first took to the show’s stage in 2019, before the Russian invasion, and the group made it to the top 10 overall in Season 14.
Part dance troupe, part electronic performance, Light Balance Kids wore head-to-toe black outfits lined with LED lights and performed on a pitch-black stage. Engineers program their clothes to glow in coordination with the music, choreography, and ever-changing scene behind them.
The dancers said they couldn’t completely separate from the fight when they returned home, although it did give their performance a new meaning. The dark stage now symbolizes Ukraine’s struggle and the physical light on their costumes has become a metaphor for resilience and even joy.
Ms Zaitseva added: “When you read the news, your heart breaks because you see all these explosions and alarms and you know that your family and loved ones are there.”
But dancing together again, Ms. Honiukova said, reminded her of “peaceful times”.
“The key to peace is kindness and light,” she said, “and we want to take this message around the world.”