volcanohunter

Bolshoi sacks Tsiskaridze

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Sad all around, though possibly "necessary" at this point; that is, the situation with Tsiskaridze and the company had seemingly become untenable and clearly neither side had any interest in a peace initiative. His admirers and students in the company will be very upset to say the least. I wonder how much of a fuss they will kick up.

I don't care for the way Tsiskaridze has conducted himself in the wake of the Filin scandal and question some of his criticisms of Bolshoi leadership before Filin, but he is a major Bolshoi artist--so this can only be bad news even if it really has been become impossible for the company to keep him on. He is, too, the kind of dancer who really belongs at the Bolshoi and won't necessarily fit, as a dancer at least, in many other settings, though I don't doubt he will have many other opportunities.

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He certainly fitted in at the Paris Opera Ballet.

Not blessed with diplomacy to be sure, but his whistle blowing exposed a great deal of the Bolshoi's ugly underbelly.

By the way the 'billionaire sponsor' is news to me.

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Guesting isn't the same as fitting in, especially when you consider yourself in your 40's to be the world's greatest dancer.

Tsiskaridze has exposed his own ugly as well.

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He loves to wind people up, haven't you realised that yet?

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By the way the 'billionaire sponsor' is news to me.

A few months ago a television program mentioned that Tsiskaridze's new apartment had been bought for him by a very wealthy admirer. The program is here, but unfortunately I'm no longer getting any audio, so I can't retrieve the oligarch's name. http://www.ntv.ru/peredacha/exclusive/m29961/o169038/

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Of course I realize it. I don't find anything admirable in it. His race-baiting of Iksanov was particularly low in a series of lows.

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Of course I realize it. I don't find anything admirable in it. His race-baiting of Iksanov was particularly low in a series of lows.

I'm NOT defending Tsiskaridze "going there" with Iksanov's ethnicity, but unfortunately "going there" about ethnicity seems very much accepted in the Russian press. I've said this before but during the Olympics there were two star gymnasts on the Russian team -- Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova. I was shocked to read Russian articles that made some ugly references to Mustafina's Muslim/Tatar ethnicity and compared her unfavorably to Komova, who was constantly praised not just for her talents but for her "Soviet" looks. (I assume the writers meant that she was blonde and blue-eyed.) Even after Mustafina proved herself to be the more consistent gymnast at the Olympics the ugly comments continued.

I read an interview in Pointe Magazine in which Natalia Osipova said that much of her family lives in Israel and her parents moved back from Israel to Russia. Not surprised that she'd keep her Jewish heritage quiet in a climate where low-blows about ethnicity seem to be accepted in the press.

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This was not a journalist race-baiting Iksanov: it was Tsiskaridze, who has not claimed to have been misquoted.

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This was not a journalist race-baiting Iksanov: it was Tsiskaridze, who has not claimed to have been misquoted, in addition to implying Iksanov was the wrong religion.

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It's not getting any prettier: Ismene Brown has a translation of an article in Moskovsky Komsomolets in which two anonymous insiders from the Bolshoi, as Brown puts it, "cut Tsiskaridze considerably down in size."

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

What's interesting is their take on the contract issue. One source says in response to

Please could you clarify for me once more about Nikolai's contract.

It's not all entirely clear. There may be a variant that, by drawing on his pension (he registered on it some years ago, as I understand, after 15 years' employment), Nikolai moved over onto a fixed-term contract, which, for example, is renewed every year or two. In this case (non-renewal) he would automatically quit. And then no need for any rows or shouts or noise, no court can reinstate him.

The other source says,

Volochkova went on maternity leave, but then signed an agreement to take sabbatical leave without pay. That's all it is. And it benefits her because on posters for her regional tours, she can write that she's the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, which of course puts the price up."

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In the interest of fairness Ms. Brown should also have published a translation of Elena Andrienko's laudatory interview about Tsiskaridze. She, at least, went on the record.

The situation in which Nikolai now finds himself seems intolerable to me: we cannot afford to squander professionals. We should not hold on to these people; we should aim to be like them and take our example from them, so that future generations can gain experience. I know Nikolai only from his best side. He's a wonderful professional. Kolya is not even 40 years old, he has a lot of strength and energy, he gives himself to his work without holding anything back. I do not understand why it is always necessary to offend professionals, rather than to protect them, so they would not leave for other countries and instead remain here and pass on their experience to their country's younger generation.

http://izvestia.ru/news/551737

Boris Akimov, meanwhile, believes that Tsiskaridze's pupils will adapt to new coaches, noting that Denis Rodkin prepared the parts of Prince Kurbsky and Spartacus with other teachers. Marina Kondratieva reinterated her opinion that what Anzhelina Vorontsova needs is to lose some weight and find a female coach.

http://izvestia.ru/news/551753

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In the interest of fairness Ms. Brown should also have published a translation of Elena Andrienko's laudatory interview about Tsiskaridze. She, at least, went on the record.

Indeed, I would never put any credence in slime balls that hide behind anonymity. A good journalist wouldn't bother with a source that can't be verified.

Racism and Xenophobia is rife in Russia, even worse than in the rest of Eastern Europe. There is a definite pecking order with the ethnicities and in a TV documentary of a few years back, I was surprised that Tartars are considered the bottom of the heap. Georgians are low in the pecking order too. Tsiskaridze is far from alone among dancers to use that kind of deplorable language, but sensitivity over religion is growing throughout all Europe. Russia and Eastern Europe however find the concept of political correctness totally alien.

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20 years ago Western Europe was not politically correct either. I don't really know how it is now. It is probably a little more today than it was, but I do think Russia is even less so. We forget that political correctness (pros and cons) is probably an American concept. We tend to think we are so 100% correct in how we think on these matters that we can not imagine any other country in today's world to not think like us, but other countries do think differently. Each country has a different history and takes a different path on the fork in the road. I am not saying whether this is right or wrong. I am just saying that we have to remember that we are products of our own culture when we are judging another. To me it was shocking living in Germany that little black faces were on chocolate candy bars. All of my university friends there didn't understand my shock and dismay. No matter how I explained it they still did not get it. Different culture. Different thoughts. And these were very liberal and very intelligent people.

My point is that we tend to think our country has evolved and gone through a process and now do things better. So when we see something that would not fly in our country we are stunned the other country hasn't changed the way we have. But we really can't expect another country to act like ours.

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In the interest of fairness Ms. Brown should also have published a translation of Elena Andrienko's laudatory interview about Tsiskaridze. She, at least, went on the record.

Indeed, I would never put any credence in slime balls that hide behind anonymity. A good journalist wouldn't bother with a source that can't be verified.

Racism and Xenophobia is rife in Russia, even worse than in the rest of Eastern Europe. There is a definite pecking order with the ethnicities and in a TV documentary of a few years back, I was surprised that Tartars are considered the bottom of the heap. Georgians are low in the pecking order too. Tsiskaridze is far from alone among dancers to use that kind of deplorable language, but sensitivity over religion is growing throughout all Europe. Russia and Eastern Europe however find the concept of political correctness totally alien.

Doesn't make it acceptable though, especially since as you point out Tsiskaridze is himself part of an ethnic minority. As for anonymous sources ever heard of Watergate and Deep Throat!?

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This is about a ballet company, hardly comparable to Watergate.

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This is about a ballet company, hardly comparable to Watergate.

Well, yes--but a ballet company where the director recently had acid thrown in his face by a thug who is widely believed to have been hired by a dancer in the company.

And where the kind of politics that impacts careers has always been rough and tumble.

In fact, like you, I prefer named sources, but unnamed sources have a long history and an important role in investigative journalism. I may be more skeptical of unnamed sources than named ones but I wouldn't sneer at them as necessarily untrustworthy, especially if I respected the journalist doing the reporting.

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The journalists doing the reporting are Yan Smirnitsky and Pavel Yashenkov and I have no way of knowing if they are deserving of respect or not. On the other hand Ismene Brown has displayed a shockingly disrespectful attitude to Tsiskaridze throughout his entire career, though she is not the only UK critic to display animosity.

The two goons being interviewed seem to have their own agenda and a lot is unverifiable opinion. To link him with the porn scandal is outrageous. Dragging up the acid attack is beyond the pale too, just as it is a fabrication to call Dmitrichenko part of NT's 'inner circle' and by the way is there no concept of sub judice in Russia?

The 'source' then claims NT receives no invitations to dance abroad when in fact he has had many appearing in at least three seasons in Paris, Kings of Dance, guesting with Taranda's company in Israel and I believe performances in the US with Cojocaru, probably a lot more I don't know about.

All of this supposedly the thoughts of 'a female employee at the Bolshoi (not in management) on condition of anonymity' So could we have a little more information on this fount of knowledge. A dancer? I doubt it, Adrienko's views on Tsiskaridze would typify attitudes toward him among the majority of the company. So is it a cleaner? a box office clerk? Some sort of clue would have helped.

Nothing so far on RT about this, though I suppose you only get ballet on slow news days, but any way good luck to the fans that will be picketing the theatre this week, at least one in the UK has already flown off to swell their numbers.

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"A source that can't be verified"? Do you mean the journalist doesn't know who the source is, or that what the source says can't be verified independently? None of us know whether the latter is true, and there's nothing to indicate that the journalists didn't now who the source is.

The source says that Iksanov linked Tsikaridze to the porn scandal and the person's reasoning is that Iksanov would not have without proof, because he would not break the existing laws to make an unsubstantiated claim. That's more credible than claiming that a self-confessed "I just wanted him beaten up" accused conspirator couldn't possible have had anything to do with the attack because he didn't have a long enough attention span or follow-through, when, as dancer representative, he put together an administrative charge of corruption against Filin. That doesn't make the reasoning about Iksanov right, but at least it's plausible.

The person who said he has "no invitations" specifically mentioned major companies and was not talking about a connections troupe in Israel or the ballet equivalent of The Three Tenors. I'm sure if Peter Boal invited him to PNB or Helgi Tomasson to San Francisco Ballet, the Bolshoi person wouldn't have considered that anything, either. That might be snobbery coming through, but isn't Tsiskaridze among the biggest snobs out there when it comes to the Bolshoi and proud of it?

Under Stalin Georgians were closer to the top, but it's always so heartwarming to see someone who experiences prejudice dumping directly on someone who is not only lower on the ethnic totem pole, like the title of a 1993 Toni Morrison article in Time Magazine ("On the Backs of Blacks") -- because a person acquires the ethnicity that is the "lower" of his parents' -- but one that is associated with a source of chaos and terrorism, killing children in schools, etc.

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Paris Opera Ballet isn't a major company?!!!

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I think it's pretty clear not only what the source includes as invitations like those extended to Zakharova and that she doesn't include his appearances to date at POB under this definition. You can argue with her definition; I could argue with Tsiskaridze's of the "world's greatest dancer." There's clearly snobbism bandied about.

And yet don’t you think Tsiskaridze a world-class artist? Doesn't he have a global reputation?

An international reputation is measured by the number of invitations to international companies as a guest star. Nikolai Tsiskaridze cannot boast of even one such invitation.

What about the Paris Opera?

At the Grand Opera he has had only one-off appearances. They were performances with a large contingent of principals from the Bolshoi dancing, people like Svetlana Lunkina, Maria Alexandrova, Aleksandr Volchkov. If the Paris Opera liked Nikolai so much, they would invite him with the same regularity as they invite, say, Svetlana Zakharova. Meanwhile other world companies - Covent Garden, La Scala, ABT, New York City Ballet - haven't invited him. Nor has he been invited to Hamburg or Munich or Berlin.

Below the translation of Tsiskaridze's comments in "Le Figaro," Brown, by the way, includes a translation of the article which quotes Elena Andrienko and her praise of Tsiskaridze.

In the "Le Figaro" interview, Tsiskaridze stated that Vorontsova would be resigning from the Bolshoi.

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On this particular point I can't agree with the source's argument at all. There are plenty of dancers--Aurélie Dupont, Marianela Nuñez, Maria Kowroski and I could go on and on--who don't go globe-trotting much but who don't lack an "international reputation" as a result. This individual may think it's great that Svetlana Zakharova gives only about a third of her performances in Moscow, but I am more inclined to admire Maria Alexandrova for dedicating herself primarily to her home theater. This sort of loyalty shouldn't be besmirched.

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there is no agreed upon standard of "greatness" but I would agree that Mr. T's dancing is pretty darn great. His diplomacy is a different matter entirely. Had he been appointed ballet AD instead of Mr Filin, I doubt he would have done well with the politics. He had (and perhaps has?) a future as a TV personality / dance judge / presenter.

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The other man on the scale is the Bolshoi's general director Anatoly Iksanov. http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/management/1643/ Can't say anything about the flower.

Incidentally, for some reason the Bolshoi press office thought it necessary to point out today in its daily dispatch of news that most of the pro-Tsiskaridze picketers were women. I have no idea what they were trying to imply.

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