One of the most celebrated dancers of the twentieth century is being honoured in Moscow this weekend. Maya Plisetskaya would have been 90 on Friday, but the ballerina died in May. Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre has pushed ahead with performances that Plisetskaya herself was helping to organise. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports.
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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Fang Mengying and Huang Zhen rehearse at the Universal Ballet Company in western Seoul last week.
It is the dream of many ballet dancers to pursue a career in France or Russia, home to some of the oldest companies in the world.
But some Asian dancers have come to Korea to develop their careers, as in the case of Huang Zhen, a ballerino from Hong Kong, and Chinese dancer Fang Mengying.
The two dancers will make their debut as main characters in “Swan Lake” by the Universal Ballet Company (UBC), a leading ballet troupe in Korea, next week. The company will stage “Swan Lake” at Seoul Arts Center as a season opener starting Friday through next Tuesday.
Fang is one of the six dancers, along with longtime principal dancer Kang Ye-na and Hwang Hye-min that will dance the lead role of Odette.
The Chinese dancer graces the official poster for the production as well. It is unusual for a soloist, not a principal, to appear in the poster of a season opener or dance a lead role in such a large-scale production as the “Swan Lake.”
Read the full article in The Korean Times here.
Tickets for UBC’s production of “Swan Lake” ranges from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 070-7124-1737 or visit www.unversalballet.com.
The New York Times have published three articles about the Bolshoi acid attack:
A dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet and two other men have confessed to carrying out an acid attack in January on the company’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, a crime that gripped Moscow and left one of Russia’s most revered institutions in turmoil, the police announced on Wednesday.
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Prosecutors have yet to lay out a possible motive in the January attack on the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director, Sergei Filin, but the revelations of the past few days suggest that it may boil down to a ballerina.
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The Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko on Thursday tried to deflect blame for the January attack on Sergei Filin, the company’s artistic director. Mr. Dmitrichenko said he had agreed that an ex-convict acquaintance would “knock him around,” but that he was unaware that the man planned to douse Mr. Filin’s face with sulfuric acid, jeopardizing his eyesight.
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The artistic director of Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, Sergei Filin, is being treated in a Moscow hospital for severe burns to his face after a masked man threw acid in his face, police say.
The attack happened late on Thursday as Mr Filin, an award-winning ballet star, was walking home in central Moscow.
Doctors are now fighting to save his eyesight and Interfax news agency says he will be sent to a clinic abroad.
A Bolshoi spokesman said Mr Filin, 42, had suffered months of threats.
The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says it is suspected that he was the victim of infighting and rows between different groups of dancers at the Bolshoi.
According to the Bolshoi statement, the assailant shouted to Mr Filin as he was approaching the entrance to his apartment block, then threw acid in Mr Filin’s face.
Read the full article on the BBC web site here.