Helene

Sergei Filin Attacked

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The news is having a field day showing Dmitrichenko in his villain roles as they report this. One clip showed him with a knife chasing another dancer (it was too short and so I wasn't sure of the ballet).

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Funnily enough the only leading role I've seen him in was an heroic one: Spartacus.

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Funnily enough the only leading role I've seen him in was an heroic one: Spartacus.

Well, he seems to think he's Spartacus...

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If Filin was in fact so interested in taking bribes from his own Bolshoi dancers in exchange for parts, why did he offer a contract to an outsider, David Hallberg, and then feature Hallberg in the HD broadcast of SB? Under Dmitrichenko's theory, Filin would have saved all lead parts for Bolshoi dancers and sold them to the highest bribe offer.

For what it's worth, the dancers Dmitrichenko mentioned in court as being part of Filin's alleged kickback scheme are corps members Anna Voronkova and Dmitri Zhuk, who transferred from the Stanislavsky to the Bolshoi at the beginning of the season. This seems to be a "native Bolshoi" vs. "interloper" sort of conflict. Again, it's grumblings from the peanut gallery, but some of the commentary from anti-Filin segments on the Internet take him to task for pushing his recent recruits from other companies, namely, Kristina Kretova and Semyon Chudin. Hallberg doesn't seem to come up in these discussions, probably because so far he has performed in Moscow so infrequently owing to injury.

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If Filin was in fact so interested in taking bribes from his own Bolshoi dancers in exchange for parts, why did he offer a contract to an outsider, David Hallberg, and then feature Hallberg in the HD broadcast of SB? Under Dmitrichenko's theory, Filin would have saved all lead parts for Bolshoi dancers and sold them to the highest bribe offer.

For what it's worth, the dancers Dmitrichenko mentioned in court as being part of Filin's alleged kickback scheme are corps members Anna Voronkova and Dmitri Zhuk, who transferred from the Stanislavsky to the Bolshoi at the beginning of the season. This seems to be a "native Bolshoi" vs. "interloper" sort of conflict. Again, it's grumblings from the peanut gallery, but some of the commentary from anti-Filin segments on the Internet take him to task for pushing his recent recruits from other companies, namely, Kristina Kretova and Semyon Chudin. Hallberg doesn't seem to come up in these discussions, probably because so far he has performed in Moscow so infrequently owing to injury.

As Filin was Stanislavsky director before moving to the Bolshoi, I can understand the disquiet. As I don't know the names can anyone say if there is anything outstanding about Voronkova and Zhuk?

Surely as an international star Hallberg is in a different category.

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Aurora wrote,

...She also has made choices, whether or not they should hurt her or not are debatable, but linking herself to a coach who consistently and openly delights in antagonizes the management and seems to be using her as a pawn in this can really not endear her to management. That may not be fair but I don't see that it is surprising.

That is precisely what I meant in a recent post.

[Personally, I have little sympathy for a 21-year-old dancer who whines "You have no idea how long I’ve been asking to dance Swan Lake, and they refuse."

Bingo. Pride and self esteem are wonderful attributes, but hubris can backfire, and it sure did here. I'm not sure whether she was sophisticated enough to realize that her affiliation with NT was a bad idea from the outset.

Excellent posts "volcanohunter" & "abatt." IMO when an A.D. counsels a young dancer, (or suggests), that it would be in his/her best interest to consider another coach, or if the A.D. 'wishes' to assign another coach, (hint, hint huh.png ), common sense would dictate that said young dancer should to follow the A.D.'s advice. According to the NY Times article, it was Filin who first saw her talent, who saw to it that she and her mother were transitioned, relocated etc. Tsiskaridze is an established Bolshoi star, outspoken and controversial yes, but still a major star of the Theatre; Angelina isn't. He is her coach, but he's not the A.D. Tsiskaridze may challenge the Theatre's management, but he's not in charge of the ballet company or the Theatre. If Angelina isn't involved and survives this, I've got a strong feeling that the Bolshoi management will make her professional life H*ll - regardless. No, that's not fair but that's life.

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I don't think the articles say that Filin told her she needed to change coaches but suggested additional coaching from a female coach if she wanted to be capable of O/O. It was Tsiskaridze who claimed that Filin was trying to take away his pupils. Is that Bolshoi shorthand for "drop your coach?". Are coaches that territorial that dancers never get additional coaching from great interpreters or dancers who originated roles or got personal coaching from the choreographer/stager? If dancers are "allowed" this, is it only because of the noblesse of their coach? Is it typical for the coaches to agree to an AD's suggestion?

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I don't think the articles say that Filin told her she needed to change coaches but suggested additional coaching from a female coach. It was Tsiskaridze who claimed that Filin was trying to take away his pupils. Is that Bolshoi shorthand for "drop your coach?".

No, the articles didn't state that. What I alluded to were those things that Filin did for Vorontsova, her family's transition to Moscow, and my belief that she should have taken Filin's advice. If Tsiskaridze believed that Filin was trying to poach "his pupils," that's Filin's prerogative as A.D. At the end of the day, Tsiskaridze's pupils aren't "his pupils;" he (superstar though he is), and they are below the top box on the Ballet's org chart. Filin's name is in that top box of the Ballet's org chart. Filin could have reassigned all of Tsiskaridze's pupils, and Tsiskaridze could have hyperventilated all he wanted. I simply agreed with the posters I quoted, that Angelina should have (must have known), that her coach was at the very least radioactive, and that she might want to distance herself from him for the benefit of her career.

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I'm curious. Has Vorontsova danced since Wednesday? Was she/is she scheduled to dance?

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Cygnet, I believe that Yuri Burlaka was the AD of the Bolshoi Ballet when Vorontsova and her family moved from Voronezh to Moscow, so that she could complete her last year of schooling at the Moscow academy, then transition to the company at the beginning of the 2009/10 season. Filin was still in charge of the Stanislavski during this period.

Also, I recall reading in the Russian-language BALET magazine that Yuri Grigorovich was chairman of the jury of the ballet competition won by Vorontsova, that started it all. In other words, Vorontsova caught the eye of Grigorovich, who invited her to move to Moscow, etc. [several competition winners during that timeframe ended up at the Bolshoi, thanks to Grigorovich having been chairman of several competition juries...not just Vorontsova.]

Grigorovich still has a say in the casting of his ballets, no? He would have been the one to have assigned the lead in Nutcracker to Vorontsova, the title role in Ivan the Terrible to Dmitrichenko, etc. I'm not intimating
at all
that Grigorovich had a role in the attack....just setting the record straight that Filin had nothing to do with Vorontsova's move to Moscow.

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I don't envy any young dancer negotiating the politics of coaches/directors at the Bolshoi (alongside the substantive artistic questions).

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I'm curious. Has Vorontsova danced since Wednesday? Was she/is she scheduled to dance?

Upcoming: various roles in multiple performances (March 14, 16, 17) of Grigorovich's Sleeping Beauty, e.g., Fairy Violente, Silver Fairy, Red Riding Hood, Aurora's Ladies in Waiting.

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I simply agreed with the posters I quoted, that Angelina should have (must have known), that her coach was at the very least radioactive, and that she might want to distance herself from him for the benefit of her career.

I'm not so sure about this. It's not as if she wasn't being cast or encouraged: she was turned down for Odette/Odile in this stage of her career, which means Filin, for any feelings he has about her joining the Bolshoi instead of the Stanislavsky and his feelings about Tsiskaridze, put at least some of them aside or she wouldn't have gone on tour and she'd be the third-friend-from the back in "Coppelia" while her peer was given the lead.

Ironically, had she joined the Stanislavsky, she likely would have been on a faster track with excellent coaching, and then when Filin became AD if the Bolshoi, he would have taken her with him -- she could have been his Carla Korbes -- and she'd be dancing O/O by now. Be careful what you wish for.

The issue is that she seems to have drunk Tsiskaridze's koolaid and married into the pro-Grigorovich/anti-Filin camp. She could have shown her independence by getting what she needed from Tsiskaridze -- he is, after all, a full member of the company/staff -- but refusing to buy into Tsiskaridze's using her as a weapon, but that's a lot to ask of a young woman who's been told repeatedly that she's better than her station. Filin's advice to "look in the mirror" might be as metaphoric as it was literal.

just setting the record straight that Filin had nothing to do with Vorontsova's move to Moscow.

That contradicts all of the latest coverage that says Filin discovered her and moved her and her mother to Moscow and that is his motive for not giving her the roles she thinks she deserves. There hasn't been a single reference to any connection between Vorontsova and Grigorovich regarding how she got to Moscow. I'd think that would be something that Tsiskaridze would have been first to jump on, because it would take away credit from Filin for spotting and sponsoring her, and it would make Filin's actions all bout Tsiskaridze, which seems to be Tsiskaridze's favorite topic.

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Thanks for the clip. I can always count on Diamonds to brighten the day. Who were the lead dancers in that clip?

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Olga Smirnova & Simon Chudin.

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The happiest man at the Bolshoi right now must be Artyom Ovcharenko who 'listened' and switched coaches from his original mentor, Tsiskaridze, to Fadeyechev, two or three years ago. I say this only due to the politics & not because of NT's coaching abilities, which are very good, from all I've heard. Wise career move, Artyomka!

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/1317/

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Cygnet, I believe that Yuri Burlaka was the AD of the Bolshoi Ballet when Vorontsova and her family moved from Voronezh to Moscow, so that she could complete her last year of schooling at the Moscow academy, then transition to the company at the beginning of the 2009/10 season. Filin was still in charge of the Stanislavski during this period.

Also, I recall reading in the Russian-language BALET magazine that Yuri Grigorovich was chairman of the jury of the ballet competition won by Vorontsova, that started it all. In other words, Vorontsova caught the eye of Grigorovich, who invited her to move to Moscow, etc. [several competition winners during that timeframe ended up at the Bolshoi, thanks to Grigorovich having been chairman of several competition juries...not just Vorontsova.]

Grigorovich still has a say in the casting of his ballets, no? He would have been the one to have assigned the lead in Nutcracker to Vorontsova, the title role in Ivan the Terrible to Dmitrichenko, etc. I'm not intimating
at all
that Grigorovich had a role in the attack....just setting the record straight that Filin had nothing to do with Vorontsova's move to Moscow.

Just to augment what Helene wrote, according to reports, it was Filin who arranged to have Vorontsova move to the Moscow school, who paid her a stipend and who found her mother a job in Moscow on the understanding that she would join the Stanislavsky upon graduation. But she took Burlaka's offer to join the Bolshoi instead. It was because of this that Dmitrichenko believed Filin was prejudiced against her. I don't think there is any evidence that he is prejudiced against her.

At one point Sergei Filin, being the artistic director of the ballet of the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater, sent for young Anzhelina from the Voronezh Ballet School, found a job in Moscow for her mother, and while she was finishing studies at the Moscow Academy of Choreography, paid her a stipend. All so that Anzhelina, upon graduation, would become a soloist of his theater. But Ms. Vorontsova received an offer from the Bolshoi and preferred it over the Stanislavsky.

http://izvestia.ru/news/546173

Sergei helped not only Dmitrichenko, but also many other ballet dancers, for example, the gifted young Anzhelina Vorontsova. He helped move the talented girl from Voronezh, where she was studying at the ballet school, to Moscow. He rented an apartment for her with his own money, hired teachers, literally fed, clothed and shod her. Not out of self-interest, but as a man of generous spirit. But in his "courting" of Anzhelina there was also the tactical consideration of the artistic director of the ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater. He saw Vorontsova as a future star in his troupe. But when it came time to take a job, Anzhelina left Filin for the Bolshoi, where she found the patronage of Tsiskaridze, who took her as his student.

http://www.kp.ru/daily/26042/2956452/

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The ballet competition in Sochi (site of the next Olympics!) is called the Yuri Grigorovich Competition - Young Dancers of the World. Note the number of current Bolshoi corps and choryphee members who, through the years, got their start here.

http://www.sochi-ibc...istory_eng.html

Vorontsova is not among them, as she won her prize in Perm (not Sochi)...the same year that Ovcharenko won the male gold medal in Perm - Arabesk Prix. However, both Vorontsova and Ovcharenko ended up in the Grigorovich-Tsiskaridze camp at the Bolshoi, with Ovcharenko eventually changing to Fadeyechev as coach.

volcanohunter - thanks for the explanation. This is quite complicated entanglement! Interestingly, Anzhelina Vorontsova has the same round 'angelic' (no pun) face of Evgenia Obrazstova...who ended up making her own move to Moscow as a guest of Filin's Stanislavski troupe soon after Vorontsova opted to join the Bolshoi. Ha!

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The happiest man at the Bolshoi right now must be Artyom Ovcharenko who 'listened' and switched coaches from his original mentor, Tsiskaridze, to Fadeyechev, two or three years ago. I say this only due to the politics & not because of NT's coaching abilities, which are very good, from all I've heard. Wise career move, Artyomka!

http://www.bolshoi.r...ns/ballet/1317/

You are assuming that Filin really is simply prejudiced against dancers who work with Tsiskaridze. I don't think that's been established by a long shot.

(And of course it may not be something that can in any simple sense be established one way or another. I am baffled by Kevin Mckenzie's casting decisions at ABT, but I'd be hard put even to speculate intelligently on all the factors that might be involved in any particular case. And he may not even know himself. What we all do know is that Bolshoi casting has not been raising eyebrows all over the world in the same way the Mariinsky's has.)

volcanohunter - thanks for the explanation. This is quite complicated entanglement! Interestingly, Anzhelina Vorontsova has the same round 'angelic' (no pun) face of Evgenia Obraztsova...who ended up making her own move to Moscow as a guest of Filin's Stanislavski troupe soon after Vorontsova opted to join the Bolshoi. Ha!

I know you are far too great an admirer of Obraztsova to think she needed a teen-age Vorontsova out of the way to catch Filin's eye!!! But perhaps the point is that Filin is not a slave to what seems to be the Mariinsky's increasingly caricatured notion of emploi in which only tall, super-skinny girls are allowed to dance Odette-Odile (since he gave Obraztsova her opportunity)? Which still doesn't mean Vorontsova is ready for it now.

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Ismene Brown tweeted a link to her blog with some commentary and a translation of a new "Izvetsia" article in which she documents a meeting called with the Bolshoi dancers, who are not satisfied with answers they got from investigators, and in which the article states that the attack was planned earlier, and that the acid-thrower and driver were planning to beat up Filin in the fall, but the street was too crowded:

http://www.ismeneb.com/ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/3/8_Dmitrichenko_had_tried_to_attack_Filin_before.html

There are some odd things in the "Izvetsia" article. For example, Dmitrichenko is said to have agreed to pay the 50000 rubles after the beating, which didn't happen, and then he forgot about it until the "surprise" acid attack. He paid them after the acid attack. although he claims surprise and that he had not approved of the method. I wouldn't have wanted to mess with those two, though.

Another thing is that Dmitrichenko approached Bolshoi management to complain about Filin's handling of prize money and other allegations of financial manipulation, and he was told to send his evidence to the union on 16 January. Filin was attacked the next day. The union says it didn't have time to investigate the allegations due to Filin's attack, which suggests Dmitrichenko went straight to the union. So far, there hasn't been any statement about whether the two actions were linked, having come one day after the other.

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Grigorovich still has a say in the casting of his ballets, no? He would have been the one to have assigned the lead in Nutcracker to Vorontsova, the title role in Ivan the Terrible to Dmitrichenko, etc.

Filin may have promoted Dmitrichenko twice in 2012, but Izvestia implies that Grigorovich has been the driving force behind his career.

In the theater Pavel Dmitrichenko did not lack for roles, but it was not Sergei Filin who enabled his professional rise. Rather the artistic director did not interfere with the artist's advancement. The real locomotive for Pavel Dmitrichenko was Yuri Grigorovich, who currently holds the modest title of ballet master, but who wields indisputable authority within the Bolshoi Theater.

http://izvestia.ru/news/546173

Personally, I find Dmitrichenko to be a dancer of limited usefulness to today's Bolshoi given that his repertoire is so narrow: Spartacus, Ivan the Terrible and several of Grigorovich's villains: the Evil Genius, Abderakhman, Tybalt and Yashka. That's about it. (I'll admit I'm not an admirer. I groaned out loud when I realized he would be playing Abderakhman in the cinemacast of Raymonda.) He has by far the lightest workload of any Bolshoi soloist. I did my best arithmetic to count up Dmitrichenko's appearances from the beginning of the season to the beginning of March, and his tally was 7 performances of 4 ballets. For comparison, Vladislav Lantratov, promoted to leading soloist at the same time as Dmitrichenko, tallied up 30 performances in 12 ballets.

But no one is suggesting that Dmitrichenko was unhappy with his own career. Supposedly he was either unhappy for Vorontsova's sake or, the newer tack goes, he suspected Filin of financial corruption.

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Ismene Brown tweeted a link to her blog with some commentary and a translation of a new "Izvetsia" article in which she documents a meeting called with the Bolshoi dancers, who are not satisfied with answers they got from investigators, and in which the article states that the attack was planned earlier, and that the acid-thrower and driver were planning to beat up Filin in the fall, but the street was too crowded:

http://www.ismeneb.c...lin_before.html

The translation is inaccurate on a couple of points.

"Dmitrichenko cited a concrete example: in the autumn of 2012 Filin supposedly payed premiums to newly arrived artists from the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater named Zhuk and Voronkova by cutting pay to current members of the ballet company," said a source close to the investigation.

And when Dmitrichenko paid the attackers the 50,000 rubles he didn't say that he "knew no more than them," but rather that he "no longer knew them."

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I wonder how formal thar conversation was when Dmitrichenko agreed to pay once the deed was done... and I agree with Helene, that Dmitrichenko might have felt he needed to not be on the wrong side of the hit man. What happens to people who contract hit men and then don't pay up? Perhaps he wanted the guy to menace Filin (if Dmitrichenko felt Filin were acting like the mob, might Dmitrichenko hire a mob type to counter-menace him?) I'm not advocating any of this, just trying to figure out the thinking behind it... which seems so very twisted.

The telling thing to me is that the entire troupe of dancers gathered, asked questions and didn't feel they were answered squarely... so there is more afoot here than has yet come out. Filin's side seems to think so, by saying they believed more people were involved.

Could there be two mob forces working counter to each other here? ... with the artists in question (with their various rivalries) the mere pawns?

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I wonder how formal thar conversation was when Dmitrichenko agreed to pay once the deed was done... and I agree with Helene, that Dmitrichenko might have felt he needed to not be on the wrong side of the hit man. What happens to people who contract hit men and then don't pay up? Perhaps he wanted the guy to menace Filin (if Dmitrichenko felt Filin were acting like the mob, might Dmitrichenko hire a mob type to counter-menace him?) I'm not advocating any of this, just trying to figure out the thinking behind it... which seems so very twisted.

The telling thing to me is that the entire troupe of dancers gathered, asked questions and didn't feel they were answered squarely... so there is more afoot here than has yet come out. Filin's side seems to think so, by saying they believed more people were involved.

Could there be two mob forces working counter to each other here? ... with the artists in question (with their various rivalries) the mere pawns?

Having just finished reading the different links posted, I do think it is a bit odd so many dancers are unsatisfied with how this case has been "solved." It does seem a lot of things don't really add up, and as you mention Filin himself has said he believes there are more involved.

Very sad state of affairs indeed.

This also caught my attention from Ismene Brown's blog linked above

The company manager Ruslan Pronin is also reported to have surprised the troupe by announcing that Filin yesterday had a phone conversation with another Bolshoi dancer, Batyr Annadurdyev, which has resulted in him being asked to make a statement to investigators.

I do hope eventually it all comes to light, but it seems a shadow will be hanging over the Bolshoi for a while yet.

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