Bolshoi veteran says accused dancer was denied roles

Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:05pm EST
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By Thomas Grove

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A prominent former Bolshoi Ballet principal told a Russian court on Monday that the victim of an acid attack had denied roles to the main suspect in the crime, a younger dancer he said could have had a "brilliant career" at the renowned theatre.

Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who lost his job at the Bolshoi in the aftermath of the attack on the ballet company's artistic director Sergei Filin, testified in the trial of dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, who faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

The attack, which left Filin writhing in the snow from the acid thrown into his face by a masked assailant, revealed rivalries over power, pay and roles at one of Russia's chief cultural symbols.

Tsiskaridze, who had feuded with Filin and longtime former Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov, told the court that Filin had more than once engineered Dmitrichenko's removal from roles that the theatre had already advertised he would play.

"Pavel was pulled out of roles several times on the authority of Sergei Yuriyevich (Filin), and for the Bolshoi Theatre that's an extraordinary occurrence," the dark-haired dancer, 39, told the court.

He recounted what he said was an "ugly scene in a corridor" at the colonnaded theatre near Red Square after Filin favored another dancer for a role longtime former artistic director Yuri Grigorovich had wanted Dmitrichenko to play.

"Dmitrichenko was summoned to Filin and ... flew out of there followed by a stream of curses," Tsiskaridze said.

"Sergei Yuriyevich spoke very ugly words."   Continued...

Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, wipes his face during a news conference in a hospital in the western German city of Aachen March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay