Last week, after the curtain came down on Russian Ballet Theatre's production of "Swan Lake" in Charlotte, N.C., the multinational company was hit with the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine.

It was a devastating development for the troupe's 42 dancers, who hail from nine countries, including Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Poland and Armenia.

"All of our dancers were on their phones with the loved ones, crying and figuring out how to get their families out," said Gulya Hartwick, the company's co-producer. "It's very, very scary, and not just for those who are from Ukraine. It's all of our cast and crew. The countries are so close to each other, and everyone has loved ones in Ukraine. That's our reality right now, and it's very, very tough to keep dancing with tears in their eyes."

The U.S.-based enterprise began in 2015, and its repertory includes "The Nutcracker" and "Cinderella." The current production of "Swan Lake," which is presented by the entertainment company Voice Art Group based in New York City, dates to 2019.

The ballet company operates in a manner similar to a touring Broadway production, with producers hiring a choreographer, designers and technical staff, then holding auditions for dancers.

As of last week, having "Russian" in the title of a touring company could be viewed as a public relations detriment, but Hartwick is quick to point out that in this instance, the word refers to a cherished, centuries-old classical dance tradition.

"I would say that the majority of people we talk to can separate between politics and the ballet technique and the art," she said. "To those who don't, or who start to say offensive things before they look into anything at all about the company and its message, then we explain. In most cases, we get apologies and words of support."

In south Minneapolis, a cultural institution with "Russian" in its name is promoting a similar message: "The Museum of Russian Art stands with the people of Ukraine and urges Russia to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw" appears on the museum's Instagram account and website.

Russian Ballet's tour began Feb. 9 in Connecticut, with "Swan Lake" hopscotching to a different city every day, performing six nights a week. Before Friday's engagement at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, "Swan Lake" will have flashed across stages in Davenport and Dubuque, Iowa, and Eau Claire, Wis.

The tour ends in San Diego on April 9. What happens then?

"We don't know, we don't know," said Hartwick. "We keep talking about it with the dancers. They don't know how they will be able to get back, or where they will be able to get back."

The company's collective mood is understandably tense.

"Everyone is scared, and mad, and sad," said Hartwick. "They're trying to get it together and perform their best, but it's hard. And that's not even mentioning how hard 'Swan Lake' is. It's technically very challenging, and now there is this emotional side to this that no one could have expected. No one wants war."

Since the invasion, ticket holders entering auditoriums where RBT is performing have been greeted with a message emblazoned across the curtain: "We Dance for Peace."

"And that's what we'll keep doing," said Hartwick. "We're carrying on with this mission of unity. We are living proof that nations can come together and create something beautiful instead of destroying it."