The Bolshoi ballet’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, dismissed as “nonsense and dirt” claims by ex-ballerina Anastasia Volochkova that dancers were pimped out to wealthy patrons as infighting escalated. Volochkova appeared on a show on state TV aired at the weekend alongside Iksanov’s rival, the ballet’s principal dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze. She said the practice was now “a lot worse” than when she was fired from the theater 10 years ago. The two were questioned by presenters Tina Kandelaki and Margarita Simonian. Iksanov also hit out at Tsiskaridze, who on the same show said he was ready to take the general director’s job. Speaking during a press conference held yesterday at the Bolshoi building in Moscow, Iksanov called on Tsiskaridze to resign from the ballet, because he can’t fire him. A battle for control of Russia’s most famous theater, which was founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great, has become public since an acid attack in January on the theater’s artistic director, with Georgian-born Tsiskaridze and Iksanov trading accusations.
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