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Joy Womack has left the Bolshoialleges corruption


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#1 volcanohunter

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

Joy Womack has left the company. In a newspaper interview she said she was told that in order to perform on the Bolshoi stage she would need to find an influential sponsor to advocate on her behalf and that she would have to pay $10,000 in order to get a solo part. She also says she was not paid all she was owed, and that she received nothing for participating in unofficial Bolshoi tours, but that she had done so because she desperately wanted to perform. She has now joined the Kremlin Ballet.

Sergei Filin was unavailable for comment because he has returned to Germany for treatment. His wife Maria Prorvich, his sister, Elena Filina, Ruslan Pronin and Galina Stepanenko declined to comment. However, Marina Kondratieva says that Womack was slow to learn choreography, and that this was the source of her problems.

http://izvestia.ru/news/560562



#2 Helene

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:36 PM

Interesting timing given the Dmitrichenko trial.



#3 volcanohunter

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:42 PM

Womack says she does not wish to pursue the matter further. "I want to forget all about it, like a bad dream."



#4 Helene

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:46 PM

I don't think she can drop a bombshell like being asked to fork up $10K for a part and expect to walk away -- and continue to work in Russia -- without further comment, especially as corruption allegations are being discussed in a front-page news trial.



#5 volcanohunter

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:59 PM

No, I don't think so either.



#6 canbelto

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:14 PM

The "sponsors" part sounds very realistic. Even in American ballet companies dancers have their appearances "sponsored." ABT even lists the sponsors in their programs, something I always find very cringeworthy.

 

As for paying for solo parts, I'd be interested in whether this was official company policy, or there's a middleman involved -- a coach or staff member who was shaking up ballet corps members for bribes. 



#7 Helene

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:18 PM

From what I understand of dancer sponsorships in the US, sponsors volunteer.  It's certainly not any disclosed company policy for dancers to have to find their own sponsors.



#8 Drew

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

I was curious about the "unofficial Bolshoi tour" business--that is, I assume it is a tour put together by Bolshoi dancers on their own steam without the official imprimatur of the company. And probably any number of dancers participate as she did because they want opportunities to perform. If that is the case, then I don't think it exactly is the fault of the Bolshoi that she wasn't paid, though certainly it counts as part of her difficult experience.

 

I also couldn't help wondering if her being an American played any role in her experiences (eg assuming she was told to find a sponsor, then is it the case that an American, in particular, would be expected to do so).

 

She is very young and she may well imagine that she can give an interview like this and then put it behind her...As for whether she can...Who knows?



#9 volcanohunter

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 06:17 PM

Where the unofficial tours are concerned, she says she was told her participation would help her down the line. Her suspicions about not being paid what she was owed stem from the fact that a third of her Bolshoi pay was deducted as income tax despite the fact that the Russian equivalent of a Social Security Number was never issued to her.

 

As for being an American, Womack seems to think that it had a great deal to do with the way she was treated. The article puts it this way, though it doesn't quote her directly: "Oh, she's an American; she must have money. Why doesn't she pay, or why doesn't she find herself a sponsor?" She didn't say that $10,000 was demanded of every dancer. Perhaps there is a sliding scale of corruption within the company.



#10 Helene

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 06:41 PM

The attitude might have come because foreigners pay a lot to train in Russia, so they must be dripping in money and can live without salary and afford all of those roles.  I'm sure the theory is that, like local vs. foreigners ticket prices in the old days, a foreign dancer should be paying the foreign price-per-role rate.

 

I can't imagine that she wouldn't have to pay income tax or file on her Russian earnings, regardless of whether a social insurance number was issued.  For one thing, as a US citizen, she needs to file a US income tax return indefinitely on worldwide income.  (If under a certain amount, it's tax-free, and if above, she'd have to file for an offset of the taxes she paid to the Russian government.)



#11 canbelto

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:36 PM

It's also unclear whether "sponsor" is meant in the corporate sense in that she find some wealthy donors willing to pay for part of her training and living expenses as a dancer, or whether "sponsor" is meant as a euphemism for the Mathilde Kschessinskaya-type "patron." 



#12 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 08:34 PM

It's also unclear whether "sponsor" is meant in the corporate sense in that she find some wealthy donors willing to pay for part of her training and living expenses as a dancer, or whether "sponsor" is meant as a euphemism for the Mathilde Kschessinskaya-type "patron." 

 

 

Volochkova has talked extensively about this...and I'm pro believing it.



#13 Jayne

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:37 PM

the language barrier may be a reason she was "slow" to pick up choreography.  But we've been debating for 9 months now that Dmitrichenko may have some valid concerns about corruption, although his choice of what to do about it was not exactly legal.  

 

If he had simply left with his girlfriend and gone to the Kremlin Ballet (or Mali, or Mik) then he would be in the same position as Joy Womack: performing more often, without the pressure to produce bribes. 

 

Anyway I thought she was lovely in her Ballet Initiative interview and wish her tremendous success.  



#14 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:50 AM

I wonder if her husband has gone with her.

 

http://searchingperf...vanovgoncharov/



#15 Plisskin

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:57 AM

Joy Womack, just 19 years old, is the first American female dancer on contract with the Bolshoi Ballet. Recruited at a New York summer intensive, she completed three years at the Bolshoi Academy's rigorous training program before being offered a position in the Ballet a year ago. But there was a catch.
"They told me I wouldn't get in if I wasn't married."
Joy tells me this by phone from her parents' home in Austin. As luck would have it, she is returning to Moscow just as I am leaving. I haven't managed to speak to a single Russian Bolshoi ballerina during my trip; I have consoled myself with the knowledge that they would have been guarded, unrevealing conversations at best.
But now this American girl is telling me that after a year in a sham marriage, she is filing for divorce.
"There are a lot of girls who look up to me," she says, her voice fuzzy on the international line. "I would be ashamed if I didn't show that you don't have to compromise to be what you want to be. I just want to be a ballerina. "
Joy has not yet informed the Bolshoi of her intent. She knows that it will disrupt her application for Russian citizenship, and maybe even her work visa. She wants very much to stay with the Bolshoi, which she says has been her dream for as long as she can remember. But if they insist that, to prove intent of citizenship, she cannot be single, "that's a deal-breaker."
.

Source: http://www.themornin...hoi-in-the-dark
 
She basically was hardly payed, hardly danced (even in the Corp de Ballet), told to pay 10K to dance/ or find a sponsor, and entered in a sham marriage? Wow. Props to her because I don't care how much love I have for something, I definitely couldn't go that far. I hope she finds better success in the Kremlin. If not, she should come back stateside. She'd be lovely at ABT or SFB.


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