Bolshoi dancer Tsiskaridze says 'hounded' after acid attack
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MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) – Ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze who will have to leave the Bolshoi Theater at the end of the month said on Sunday he is being hounded by the management over a conflict after an acid attack on the artistic director.
Russia’s Bolshoi Theater announced on Saturday it will not sign a new contract with its premier dancer Tsiskaridze following months of legal disputes and scandals.
The dancer, who has been working with the Bolshoi for some 20 years, will have to leave the theater after June 30, when his current contract expires. He has been notified “that no new fixed-term employment contract will be prolonged,” the theater’s spokesperson said.
“Only one word – hounding,” Tsiskaridze told RIA Novosti refusing to discuss the details.
In interviews given in late January, Tsiskaridze accused the Bolshoi administration of a “deliberate persecution” campaign against him, and of using the acid attack on the theater’s ballet troupe artistic director Sergei Filin that shocked the world in January as a pretext to deal with Tsiskaridze and other “unwanted” figures. The theater’s management dismissed the statement.
In February, the dancer was reprimanded twice for giving interviews without obtaining permission from the theater’s management. Tsiskaridze had earlier criticized the results of the theater’s six-year renovation work.
The theater was earlier involved in a bitter and public legal dispute with dancer Anastasia Volochkova, who was fired in 2003, reportedly for being overweight. A court in 2004 ordered Volochkova’s reinstatement, but though she is still officially employed by the theater, she has not secured any roles since 2004.
In March, she added fuel to the fire of the scandal engulfing the Bolshoi by claiming that the theater pimps out its ballerinas to wealthy Russian businessmen. The theater’s director Anatoly Iksanov dismissed the allegations.
“Chaos in the Bolshoi continues. They are getting rid of Tsiskaridze. It seems that Iksanov has more fans,” Volochkova wrote in Twitter.
Meanwhile, the dancer’s fans plan to stage a picket in his support on Theatre Square in front of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on June 15. They intend to apply to the Moscow mayor’s office for permission to hold the event.