One of the Bolshoi’s leading ballerinas has fled Russia for Canada after receiving threats, as tension in the ballet community continues following the acid attack on the Bolshoi’s ex-artistic director Sergei Filin, earlier this month.
Although Svetlana Lunkina told Russian newspaper Izvestia that she didn’t believe the threats are related to the acid attack on Filin, she has taken leave until the end of the season.
According to Izvestia, the prima ballerina, 33, who is an “Honored Artist of Russia” says she believes the threats could be connected to a film business dispute involving her husband, Vladislav Moskalyev.
Moskalyev was dropped from the movie — a feature about Russian imperial ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya — after he fell out with his business partner, who is now suing him for $3.7 million (2.7 million euros).
Lunkina, who has been living in Canada for the last six months and will shortly begin dance classes at a dance studio in Kleinburg, Ont., is now afraid to return to Russia, the Toronto Star reports.
As the Agence France Presse news agency writes, the fact that such a high profile figure would rather forfeit important professional bookings than return to Russia, highlights the real legacy of Filin’s attack — fear.
“I think we need to react to these threats. These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work,” Lunkina toldIzvestia.
One the Bolshoi’s most experienced dancers, Lunkina has danced with the company since 1997 and was due year to appear in a new work by the British choreographer Wayne McGregor later this year.
“I was supposed to be doing a lot of interesting work, including several premieres,” Lunkina adds.
Lunkina was also slated to take a star in a new version of “The Rite of Spring” at the Bolshoi this year.
Kevin Pugh, artistic director with Canadia’s “Dance Teq” and a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, told Canadian press that Lunkina is now a permanent resident in Canada and has a work permit.
Pugh, who is in touch with Lunkina, said the ballerina seemed “a little nervous” about giving out her contact details.
Meanwhile, Filin is preparing to travel to Germany for more operations to save his sight and treat skin, after sustaining third degree burns when sulphuric acid was thrown in his face on January 17.
Renowned as a cultural center of excellence since 1825 and one of Russia’s most distinguished institutions, the ugliness of the Bolshoi’s backstage politics has been irrevocably exposed to the world.