Entries in Bolshoi (3)


Bolshoi Ballet Denies Claims It Pimped Out Dancers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- The world-famous Bolshoi ballet has reportedly dismissed claims by a former top ballerina that the dance company pimped out its female dancers to wealthy donors.

Former ballet star Anastasia Volochkova made the claim during an appearance on a Russian talk show on Sunday, calling the theater a “giant brothel.”

She said ballerinas were pressured by the theater’s management to attend parties thrown by its biggest financial backers, often with the expectation that they would then follow the rich businessmen to bed. She said resistance could lead to professional repercussions within the theater.

Volochkova was dismissed by the Bolshoi in 2003, reportedly because the company thought she was too fat.

The Bolshoi’s general manager, Anatoly Iksanov, dismissed the allegations, saying, according to Russian news reports, “I don’t comment on dirt and nonsense.”

Yesterday, theater spokesperson Katerina Novikova declined to comment on the specific claims, saying, “I don’t know yet if the [theater's] management has decided on how to react to everything that was said in the show.”

The claims are just the latest black eye for the Bolshoi, which is still reeling from a vicious acid attack on its artistic director in January.

Sergei Filin was doused with sulfuric acid as he walked to his apartment building on Jan. 17. Earlier this month, police arrested Pavel Dmitrichenko, a top Bolshoi dancer, and two other men for allegedly ordering and carrying out the attack.

The attack sent shock waves throughout the institution, with fingers being pointed at other top dancers who some believe may have instigated the attack. Last week, however, several hundred Bolshoi employees signed a letter siding with Dmitrichenko, suggesting he confessed to masterminding the attack only after being pressured to do so.

Filin suffered severe burns on his face and is currently recovering in a German hospital where doctors are scrambling to save his eyesight.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bolshoi Ballet Acid Attack Mystery Deepens

YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty ImagesMOSCOW – The mystery over who was behind the vicious acid attack on Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the famed Bolshoi Ballet, became even more intriguing on Friday, when police said they believe those responsible may have come from within the Bolshoi itself.

The Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed law enforcement source saying that members of the famed ballet troupe are considered suspects.

The Russian press has had a field day since the attack took place over three weeks ago trying to solve a whodunit crime that rivals some of the company’s most dramatic performances. There have been whispers and rumors suggesting theater politics were the cause of the attack, but Friday’s report was the first time police sources, albeit anonymously, pointed fingers at the victim’s colleagues.

Meanwhile, one of the company’s top dancers, Nikolai Tsaskaridze, a man with a history of tension with Filin (he’s believed to have coveted his job) told the BBC that efforts to implicate him in the crime are nothing but a “witch hunt.” He likened it to a Stalin-like campaign to force him out, and suggested the Bolshoi’s management was behind a smear campaign.

Pointing his finger at Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov, Tsakaridze told the BBC, “He wants to damage my reputation. But my reputation can't be damaged. I was -- and I still am -- the most famous dancer in the Bolshoi.”

Tsakaridze also suggested Filin wasn’t attacked with acid, asking why his hands weren’t burned as well.

A theater spokeswoman dismissed that suggestion, telling the BBC, “I'm speechless. I don't care what Tsiskaridze thinks about it.”

Filin himself said recently he thought he knew who was behind the attack, though he said he would let the investigation run its course first. He left the hospital this week, his head bandaged and his damaged eyes covered by dark sunglasses. He left for Germany this week where he will receive additional treatment for the extensive burns on his face and work to recover his eyesight.

Tension within the uber-competitive ballet world is nothing new, and certainly not at the Bolshoi, where glory is reserved for a few stars, and the accompanying dancers fume with jealousy. Over the more than 200 years of the Bolshoi’s existence, there have been tales of crushed glass in the toes of ballet shoes and pins sticking into costumes, not to mention the occasional dead cat being thrown on stage.

As good as the Bolshoi is, this time the best drama is taking place off the stage.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bolshoi Theater in Moscow to Reopen After Six-Year Closure

Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The Bolshoi in Moscow will hold a gala performance Friday evening, officially reopening after a six year renovation.

The special performance on Friday will be attended by President Dmitri Medvedev and other dignitaries, and will feature stars of the opera and dance world. Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova are scheduled to perform.

The Bolshoi's stage was completed in 1824, and has seen the premieres of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov," and Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District."

The Bolshoi garnered headlines in the United States recently for hiring an American to join its ballet company. David Hallberg, a 29-year-old from South Dakota, will start his first season with the Bolshoi on Nov. 4. He is the first foreign dancer to become a Bolshoi ballet principal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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