Sergei Filin Attacked
Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:15 AM
Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:06 AM
"The star dancer accused of masterminding the attack on the Bolshoi ballet chief acknowledged Thursday that he gave the go-ahead for the attack, but told a Moscow court that he did not order anyone to throw acid on the artistic director's face.
The judge, however, refused to release Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko on bail and ordered him held until at least April 18."
Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:50 AM
Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:03 AM
re. the 'Wife-vs-Girlfriend' designation, it looks like Vorontzova is the common-law wife (as opposed to 'real-law wife') of Dmitrichenko. The above article clarifies this. In the USA, this is called a 'long-term, live-in girlfriend.' In Russia, people in such long-term arrangements are called 'wife' and 'husband'....e.g., Balanchine and Danilova.
re. the accusation of AV being overweight - of course, she is not overweight. However, during last May's run of Coppelias at the Kennedy Center, I remember thinking that she was the 'bounciest' among various beautiful young soloists in the Act III divertissements (she alternated between the solo roles 'Work' and 'Folly'). Her physique didn't hurt at all in those roles; if anything, it enhanced her charm, especially in Vikharev's 1890s reconstruction style. She is definitely a longer-tutu dancer.
Vorontsova often danced Masha in Grigorovich's Nutcracker. I saw her 'liveShe danced it opposite ' opposite Ovcharenko ca-2010, back when both Vorontsova & Ovcharenko were coached by Tsiskaridze. Last season she danced Masha opposite Tsiskaridze himself. She has always been the chubby-cheeked soubrette type - never the hyper-thin and long swan type - so to read that some were pushing her towards those sorts of roles is a bit of a surprise. Even the short-but-ultra-thin Obraztsova has yet to dance O-O at the Bolshoi, even though Filin himself invited her to debut O-O at the Stanislavsky when he was the AD of that troupe.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:18 AM
Parsing Possible Motives in Bolshoi Acid Attack)
Ms. Vorontsova was greeted as a sensation when, at 16, she won her first major dance competition. Valeria Uralskaya, the editor of Ballet magazine in Russia, described her as “a luminous and delicate adolescent.” She said that Mr. Filin and his ballet company had taken pains to smooth the way for her to move from Voronezh to Moscow, where she finished her training, providing her with lodging, a stipend and a spot at the ballet academy, as well as finding a job for her mother.
In a 2010 interview Ms. Vorontsova acknowledged that Mr. Filin had assumed she would dance in his company, and that her decision to move to the Bolshoi had been painful and difficult.
“Sometimes in life you have to make a choice,” she said.
Ms. Uralskaya said that Ms. Vorontsova’s career had leveled off in recent years, probably for several reasons, including injuries and postadolescent weight gain.
Vadim Gayevsky, an eminent Russian ballet scholar, said the tension around Ms. Vorontsova is symptomatic of a broader problem, as artists barely out of their teens expect to shoot to the top of the profession. He said he felt sorry for Ms. Vorontsova because she was being pushed forward so aggressively by the people around her.
“Artists, even the most wonderful ones, must go through a rather long path unless they’re totally brilliant,” he said. “I don’t know her desires. I don’t know her. I know that her husband and teacher desire that she dance ‘Swan Lake’ at 20. Some can do it then, for others it’s too soon.”
“No one ever asks her,” he said. “They decide everything for her.”
This question of pushing dancers too quickly -- and the unrealistic (or unrealized) expectataions this may produce -- might we worth a thread of its own at some point.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:20 AM
Taranda's assertion that this whole thing hurt Tsiskaridze more than Filin has made me lose all respect for a man I consider one of the greatest dancers I've ever see on film.
Perhaps what Taranda meant was that Filin will no doubt recover and return to his job as Bolshoi director, don't forget that poor vision was never a handicap for Alicia Alonso. Tsiskaridze will forever be tainted by the accusatons against him, indeed there are already those suggesting his close association with Vorontsova automatically means he was part of a plot to attack Filin. Mud sticks and and it could be his reputation is destroyed forever by all this and I think that is what Taranda was alluding to.
Taranda's opinion it is worth listening to, after all few know the Bolshoi better than he does and Tsiskaridze has danced in his company so he knows his character well. He is also a neutral in all this as he is hardly Grigorovich's greatest fan after being publicly sacked by him. There is a lot of back story with all this that I'm afraid will never emerge (hence my reference to Yanin).
Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:43 AM
The NY Times article today adds another element to this story: the question of how young ballerinas' careers are pushed (or not), with some of the unanticipated consequences of that.
Parsing Possible Motives in Bolshoi Acid Attack)
.....This question of pushing dancers too quickly -- and the unrealistic (or unrealized) expectataions this may produce -- might we worth a thread of its own at some point.
Interesting read, bart. I say KUDOS to Mr. Filin and his immediate predecessors in the A.D. seat for not having pushed her prematurely....as the Mariinsky has been doing with the Somovas, Skoriks and Kampas. Notice that, for the past decade, the Bolshoi has not done this sort of thing with very young promising dancers. Even Osipova had to wait her turn for a couple of seasons and, once she danced Kitri, she danced only the proper roles for her 'dynamic soubrette' emploi. Smirnova is a once-n-a-lifetime diamond but even she had to wait a few months, getting Nikiya at the end of her first season. Krysanova - Nikulina - Stashkevich, etc....all graduated in the 2001/2002 timeframe and are just now coming into top roles. They advanced the Old-Fashioned Way: they EARNED it! Bravo, Bolshoi! Bravo!
'Ye Olde Pay-off' does not seem to have taken hold in Moscow, as it has (ahum) elsewhere. Maybe in other spheres but not to further the careers of dancers.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:55 AM
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:11 AM
Even Osipova had to wait her turn for a couple of seasons and, once she danced Kitri, she danced only the proper roles for her 'dynamic soubrette' emploi.
Yes, but it was the restrictive nature of the roles she (and Vasilev) were assigned at the Bolshoi that, in part, led them to seek other opportunities with ABT and ultimately to leave the Bolshoi. I'm not complaining- the Bolshoi's loss was my gain be being able to see them here in NYC at ABT.
If Anzhelina Vorontsova and her supporters believed she was so talented and underappreciated, she should have jumped ship and tried to find other opportuniites. Commission of a crime was not the answer. She is now damaged goods, I believe, and will, fairly or unfairly, be regarded in a very negative light by these events. At a minimum, she will be seen as a troublemaker and not someone any artisitic director wants to deal with. What real chance does she have now to ever advance at the Bolshoi with Filin at the helm?
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:37 AM
If Anzhelina Vorontsova and her supporters believed she was so talented and underappreciated, she should have jumped ship and tried to find other opportuniites. Commission of a crime was not the answer. She is now damaged goods, I believe, and will, fairly or unfairly, be regarded in a very negative light by these events. At a minimum, she will be seen as a troublemaker and not someone any artisitic director wants to deal with.
That is very harsh: I have never seen her dance so can only go by the opinions of those that have and she is much admired I believe. Unless it can be proved she was involved she should not be blamed for the misguided actions of her besotted boyfriend.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:37 AM
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:40 AM
With Vorontsova instead of telling her she was fat she could have told her she needed additional coaching.
That's exactly what he did. And then Tsiskaridze began to complain that Filin was trying to take away his pupils.
Obviously a phrase along the lines of "take a look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you see a Swan Queen" could be interpreted in a number of ways, but it doesn't appear that Filin explicitly accused her of being overweight. Marina Kondratieva did say explicitly that Vorontsova had become too heavy, but she's not the one to end up with acid in her face.
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."
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:42 AM
I am NOT condoning any kind of acid attack on anyone, but perhaps when Filin resumes the helm of the Bolshoi he ought to also re-evaluate his own management strategies. It's not easy dealing with 200 very ambitious egos I'm sure, but it also seems like his style of management escalated, rather than de-escalated conflict. With Vorontsova instead of telling her she was fat she could have told her she needed additional coaching. Or (and this is something Balanchine used to do when a dancer insisted on a role) he could have given her one token performance and seen whether or not it was a success.
He did apparently tell her that she needed additional coaching, although there is debate as to how that was taken--her camp saying she was being punished for sticking with Tsiskardize. His camp saying she needed female coaching in addition.
I am also not clear that there is any real evidence he really did say she was too fat, or if this is conjecture (I know it has been said, but is it fact that Filin said it to her...or is this other people justifying after the fact).
Furthermore I don't see that it is good management to give in to what was clearly a demand for a role by a 20/21 year old dancer that you haven't deemed ready for the role. That is not how it generally works in any company. He has a lot of dancers to cast, as you note, and to give her the role would mean not giving it to someone else...someone he did think was deserving of it at this time. She is still young and does have time.
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.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:44 AM
[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.
Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:53 AM
I keep thinking of Suzanne Farrell's anger that Balanchine would not give her husband roles she thought he deserved. Their response was to resign from the company and perform elsewhere. Whether or not her anger was justified is not relevant. Her response was appropriate in this kind of situation.
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