Ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze has been axed by Russia’s world-famous Bolshoi Theater and is out on the street with no offer of long-term employment as of June 30. The announcement came from the Bolshoi Theater on Saturday after months of scandal, legal disputes, and even a horrific January acid attack on the company’s former artistic director Segei Filin.
Premier dancer 39-year-old Nikolai Tsiskaridze joined the Bolshoi Theater in 1992, which means that the current firing represents an inglorious end to a star ballet career spanning more than 20 years.
The ballet star fired back on Sunday, saying that he was a victim of persecution who was being hounded out of the Bolshoi.
Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other men confessed in March to the attack where they threw sulfuric acid into Filin’s face and eyes, damaging and possibly destroying his vision.
Tsiskaridze wasn’t involved but he seems to feel that the attack is being used as an excuse to shed what he calls “unwanted” members of the ballet troupe. In the wake of the acid attack, the ballet star had argued that the low morale and poor leadership demanded a change.
But instead of shedding its leaders, the Bolshoi has decided to shed its lead male dancer.
The ballet star told The New York Times in a text message that: “I am not upset. All this was thought up to make a mockery of me. I knew it would happen.”
Tsiskaridze hasn’t been the only outspoken member of the scandal-haunted Bolshoi ballet. In March, a former female dancer angrily told the BBC that the company was a giant brothel that pressured women dancers to date and sleep with wealthy men.
Nikolai Tsiskaridze has reportedly been taking law classes to defend his legal actions against the Bolshoi, which has reprimanded him twice for his public statements. Right now, the future is murky for the Bolshoi ballet star.