kbarber

Is Svetlana Lunkina moving to Toronto?

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Does she still dance...?

The UK Dancing Times listed her as among the dancers expected to appear with the Bolshoi during their London season this summer. She's only 33 so I doubt she's retired.

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I am reluctant to post this information, but it has appeared in the Russian press in the context of the attack on Sergei Filin

Since the autumn one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s primas, Svetlana Lunkina, has not appeared on stage. When the name of any prima donna disappears from the posters, fans discuss two versions: injury or pregnancy. If an injury is commonly known immediately (even if the person was not "broken" on stage), our women prefer to keep news about an upcoming addition to the family secret as long as possible out of superstition, but to appease the fans the information is still made public by the personnel department. This time, neither one nor the other. The ballerina simply isn’t in the theater, there is strange unpaid leave (first six months, just extended to the end of the season) and weird rumors swirling behind the scenes.

What's going on? And where, in fact, is Lunkina – a dancer, who very recently provided the Bolshoi with a successful premiere of Wayne McGregor's Chroma, the same McGregor who is supposed to mount the world premiere of The Rite of Spring at the end of March? She's in Canada, because she's afraid. For herself and for her children and her husband.

She and her husband, businessman Vladislav Moskalev, who for almost twenty years was involved in the Stars of XXI Century project (high-class ballet galas held in Canada, the United States, France, and since 2010 in Russia) had their Facebook pages and electronic mail hacked last fall, as well as receiving threatening phone calls. Who did it, of course, is unknown, but it is known that last year Vladislav Moskalev and Vladimir Vinokur, who came together to become film producers and start a project titled Kshessinskaya, came to disagree sharply about the upcoming film. Mutual financial claims and accusations of embezzlement were made.

Litigation is probably still coming, but what is telling: the Vladimir Vinokur Fund for Arts and Culture, in search of justice, began sending letters that accused of Moskalev of stealing and Lunkina of being his accomplice, not just anywhere, but to leading theaters. The letters were sent not only to all the theaters where the dancer ever worked, but also, for example, to the National Ballet of Canada, where she now takes morning class, so as not to lose shape.

Obviously the directors of the illustrious troupes sympathized with the ballerina and were shocked by such methods of settling accounts. Incidentally, the Bolshoi should have explained immediately to the authors of the letter campaign that it was wrong to persecute a ballerina. But, apparently, the management begins to be baptized only when thunder is already rumbling hard over their heads. [insert proper idiom here.]

From which realm of public morality is this – balletic or "general civility"? For the moment justice demands that a in-no-way guilty ballerina lose the opportunity to work in Russia and lose face before foreign colleagues. And this is not the only balletic damage to the fatherland – the Kremlin Gala (the new name of Stars of XXI Century), obviously, will lose its class – the team of experts that would have guaranteed its quality has left it.

http://www.mn.ru/fri.../336129037.html

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An interview with Lunkina was published today.

- Who sent you a letter with threats?

- Representatives of the Vladimir Vinokur Foundation. Vinokur was a business partner of my husband, they worked together on a film about Mathilde Kshessinskaya.

- The aggression directed at you is associated only with the conflict between your husband and Vinokur?

- Yes, I have absolutely nothing to do with it. But they sent defamatory letters about me, as they said, to all the theaters.

- The press secretary for the Bolshoi Theatre has confirmed to me that this letter was in fact received. In Canada [?] a similar letter was read by John Neumeier. Have you told him your version of events?

- We have common friends, who told him everything. He knows our version, he is shocked and thinks it's awful.

- Have you turned to the Bolshoi for help?

- First, I wrote to the Bolshoi Theatre, which is posted on the official website. I described all the provocations against me, about the hacking of my Facebook page. The second letter I wrote directly to artistic director Sergei Filin. I sent him a request to extend my leave. I asked for his support - I did not know to whom else to turn. But he did not answer me. And at the theater they said: "We receive a lot of letters - bad and good. This does not mean that we should react to every letter. "

- What do you plan to do? Does your husband plan to sue?

- Our attorneys are now seriously at work. I believe that we need to respond to the threat. These people have no right to climb into our personal life or into my professional activities.

- What were you planning to do this season, before ending up in Canada?

- I should have had a lot of interesting work - several premieres, including work with McGregor, which I've been awaiting for many years, with Mats Ek. Representatives of the latter were very surprised about why I cannot come to the theater and perform in their project.

- Were you considered a candidate for the role of Kshessinskaya in the joint project of your husband and Vinokur?

- Never. I was surprised to read that Nastya (Anastasia Vinokur, daughter of Vladimir Vinokur. - "Izvestia") and I are fighting for the role. Russian people are used to assuming that if a husband makes a film it will necessarily star his wife. If it were a ballet project, that would be another matter. I am a prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, this is my profession and my life. But when it comes to movies, what have I got to do with it?

- How did you react to the news of the attack on Filin?

- With horror, because he's my artistic director regardless of what may have happened between us lately. I'm extremely sorry for his family: I have a family myself and I know how it feels when your loved ones are threatened. I know what it is to suffer for weeks and months. I hope that the perpetrators will be found. They are not people. Such a thing should not, cannot happen, especially in the theater.

- Who could have done it?

- I do not know such people at the Bolshoi who could throw acid at the artistic director. It could be a person who does not work at the Bolshoi Theatre, but is associated with the theater, the ballet.

- When the problem becomes transparent, you will be able to return?

- I really wanted to come back and still want to, but I recently learned that my artistic director does not want it. Sergei Filin told the troupe, "Lunkina will not return here again." I was told by friends who work in the theater, who write to me, sympathize, support me.

- If the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet is not waiting for you, why not join any other major ballet company in the world?

- First, I want to fight for my place at the Bolshoi Theater.

http://izvestia.ru/news/543784

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That's terrible! Poor Lunkina, she's one of favourites and I was hoping she'd be on the Bolshoi's upcoming tour to Australia. sad.png

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"- I really wanted to come back and still want to, but I recently learned that my artistic director does not want it. Sergei Filin told the troupe, "Lunkina will not return here again."

and yet according to the artsdesk's report of the upcoming Bolshoi tour to London:

"The principal artists listed for London are (female) Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Nina Kaptsova, Svetlana Lunkina,..."

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"- I really wanted to come back and still want to, but I recently learned that my artistic director does not want it. Sergei Filin told the troupe, "Lunkina will not return here again."

and yet according to the artsdesk's report of the upcoming Bolshoi tour to London:

"The principal artists listed for London are (female) Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Nina Kaptsova, Svetlana Lunkina,..."

The logician in me wants to say that if she's performing in London she's not necessarily in Moscow...

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If you recall from the earlier interview with Sergei, he said his concerns were dismissed by the management - they receive a lot of threats and it's just part and parcel of doing business at the Bolshoi. Sergei was told to be brave, and go about his business. With that in mind, he (or upper management) may have given Lunkina the same advice.

Perhaps in the wake of the acid attack, they would advise her differently, and Sergei would not necessarily dismiss Lunkina for fleeing to Canada. Anyway, I hope she joins NBC, Winnipeg Royal or Montreal, as she could dance another 10 years at a high level and be safe.

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Interesting. I did not realize that Bolshoi choryphee Anastasia Vinokur is daughter of this wealthy businessman. I hope that Lunkina and her family stay safe. As for the London tour's early cast listings, don't ever take such early listings as The Truth, e.g., for the recent Washington, DC, tour of the Bolshoi's COPPELIA, Osipova was listed until the last month, when finally the names of the true Swanildas were released (minus Osipova).

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An interesting sidebar:

The author of the article about Svetlana Lunkina (linked to in the post above mine) is John Fraser, who was instrumental in the defection of Mikhail Baryshnikov in Toronto in 1974. He wrote a detailed description of that story in his 1986 book "Telling Tales". Here is an article about that:

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/sonycentre/2010/10/05/baryshnikovs_defection_is_one_for_the_books.html

Among the ballet classes Lunkina is taking in Toronto are Kevin Pugh's (former principal dancer NBoC) pay-as-you-go Dance Teq classes in which she participates both as student and teacher. My daughter, who knew her from years ago when Lunkina guested with Canadian Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker, takes class with Kevin when she can and is always inspired when Svetlana is at the barre. The class is full of professional dancers, students and non-professionals, all working on their own needs, but a breath of fresh air is always welcome and Lunkina, lovely and kind as she is, has brought some rarefied air with her.

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This might be me but Lunkina's story doesn't really pass the smell test. It screams of "my husband did something shady/is deeply in debt and we have to run out of the country to avoid going to jail." If she really feels that threatened, why would she agree to a series of interviews that give the exact location of herself and her family?

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Well, it might *all* be true. Her husband might have done something shady *and* they might face real threats when they are in Russia. The article notes that she's had the same house for a while, so I imagine if anyone wanted to find her, they could look her address up on the internet pretty easily. I mean if they can figure out her tel# and hack her facebook account, I think they can look up property records too. I doubt they need to read a Canadian magazine interview.

She probably is safer in suburban Canada. If an eastern european thug shows up in a small town, he will stand out like a sore thumb. If she had moved to NYC, the locals would think the thug is just a Brighton Beach immigrant.

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If she really feels that threatened, why would she agree to a series of interviews that give the exact location of herself and her family?

In a Toronto Star article from January 29 Kevin Pugh was quoted as saying that "he doesn’t know her that well yet but said she seemed 'a little nervous' about giving out her contact details."

http://www.thestar.c...rom_russia.html

As for the location of her house, that was revealed by the press:

"Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show that, since 2010, they have owned a million-dollar home in Kleinburg, Ont., a wealthy community about an hour’s drive north-west of Toronto."

http://www.theglobea...article7937024/

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There is an interesting article in the Princeton "Town Topics", regarding Lunkina's visit to Princeton University for 4 days of 'teaching':

http://www.towntopic...ncing/?3e3ea140

“This is someone who was considered the number one ballerina at the Bolshoi,” he said. “She lives an hour and a half outside of Toronto and she has small children, so it hasn’t been easy for her to get to class every day. Life is not normal for her right now. But here she was in class with us, this tiny, thin ballerina with all of the attributes Russian ballerinas have. She jumped at least as high, if not higher, than any of the men in class. Our mouths just dropped open.

“She was like a kid in a candy store, doing every combination [of movements] six or seven times. She wasn’t showing off, she was just thrilled to be working. She is special. She has the wonderment still left in her, a desire to get better. And it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

I was struck by this statement, “You’d think that ballet companies would jump at the opportunity to hire her, but it’s not that easy,” Mr. Martin said...because this situation comes up a lot more often than one would think. It's almost a liability to be at the top of your profession - too many expectations and too many strings attached. I remember Aurelie Dupont talking about wanting to dance for ABT, but they weren't interested in her particular proposal - and I didn't get the sense that they were even looking to work something out. Dance fans might think that it would be great to see their favorite dancer perform with different troups, but it's a really small group of dancers that can do this with any consistency (and not cancel out of engagements half the time, which doesn't make any friends).

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I remember Aurelie Dupont talking about wanting to dance for ABT, but they weren't interested in her particular proposal - and I didn't get the sense that they were even looking to work something out.

Perhaps Ms. Dupont just lacks the correct agent. dry.png

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I remember Aurelie Dupont talking about wanting to dance for ABT, but they weren't interested in her particular proposal - and I didn't get the sense that they were even looking to work something out.

Perhaps Ms. Dupont just lacks the correct agent. dry.png

No doubt there is an unwritten protocol - different for each company. Have fun guessing what it is they want to hear!

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I remember Aurelie Dupont talking about wanting to dance for ABT, but they weren't interested in her particular proposal - and I didn't get the sense that they were even looking to work something out.

Perhaps Ms. Dupont just lacks the correct agent. dry.png

Mme. Dupont needs to sign with Ardani.dry.png

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Svetlana Lunkina will be dancing Don Quixote grand pas de deux in National Ballet of Canada's Gala June 12th.

http://national.ball....htm#repertoire

I hope this is an audition in disguise, if all goes well and audience love her (who doesn't?), NBoC would sign her. Did she leave Bolshoi officially? NBoC lists her as former principal of Bolshoi.

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Personally, I hope that Wayne McGregor is lobbying on her behalf at the Royal Ballet.

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I think she is safer in Canada. Too many Russians have met their demise under cloudy circumstances in Britain. Far too easy for the shadowy people to enter the country.

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I hope Lunkina remains in Toronto as well. O'Hare (and MacGregor) have made their choice: The Royal has signed Osipova. Lunkina is still pictured and listed on the Bolshoi Theatre site as a Principal. Incidentally, Pavel Dmitrichenko, the accused in the Filin case, is still listed as well. So, officially they haven't (yet?) been "expunged" from the Theatre. We'll see what happens.

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