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Joy Womack has left the Bolshoi

275 posts in this topic

Considering how little her contemporaries made, and how the chief battle that Dmitrichenko won was to distribute the lowest-level bonus money to the dancers who hadn't been dancing/cast, one could ask the same question of most of the corps. Womack was living rent free with a friend. She spoke about having a contract that yielded about 500/mo, or about 12 days/month under the terms of this contract, but that might have been under her prior six-month contract; from her descriptions, she was dancing a lot less recently.

She says she left the company. If it's the case as she hadn't been fired, as one report from the Russian movement stated several times, then, yes, she did, until she didn't, but money isn't one of the reasons she gave. Nor was dancing very little or living on someone's couch. She said she left because when she tried to find out how she could dance more, she was told she'd have to buy roles and to get a sponsor to pay for them and try to use his influence.

As far as being advised, she entered into a sham marriage over her parents' objections. I'm not sure whose advice she would have heeded, and it's not as if she had bargaining power within the Bolshoi.

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Essentially, she was an independent contractor. Why would she agree to such a contract rather than the same type of contract other corps memebers receive? Wasn't anybody advising her? Was she so desperate to become a affiliated with the Bolshoi that all financial and monetary considerations were thrown to the winds?

One would think so. It seems as if she was willing to take what she could get, and when she had it, she wanted to fight for more. Which is always a mistake because a contract is a contract, no matter how bad it is. By the way, does anyone know whether the Bolshoi pays for the pointe shoes of their dancers? Because if they do, this adds a tremendous value to the scarce salary considering that a dancer like Womack would need three pairs per week.

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"Was she so desperate to become a affiliated with the Bolshoi that all financial and monetary considerations were thrown to the winds?"

No one goes into ballet for the financial/monetary considerations. I imagIne there are many in New York who would throw caution to the winds for a chance to play for the Yankees/Mets/Giants/Jets/Knicks/Rangers even at partial pay. It was her life's dream to dance for the Bolshoi; she had already thrown all to the wind just to have a shot at it.

It was not, however, a sustainable situation.

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Joy Womack *is* such a gifted and beautiful dancer that I hope that she can renew her dancing soon and bring 'joy' to audiences. [sorry, but the dancing quality of the Kremlin Ballet is not that of Bolshoi, although they have grand 'production qualities' in luxurious sets and costumes.]

I hope that she can get out of Russia, take her beloved Russian husband along (assuming that's what she wants), and just DANCE. Easier said than done, as the husband must decide if he will leave his family behind. I totally feel for them on this front - I went through this, though I'm not a dancer.

I'm wondering if this documentary project about Joy & Nikita is on?

http://searchingperfection.com/

It's suddenly become more interesting than ever imagined.

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OK, so I'm confused again... Her beloved Russian husband? Isn't she now divorced? Didn't she marry against the wishes of her family because she was marrying to further (she thought) her career? - not the first time this was ever done, but "beloved" hardly seems to fit if this is the case.....

ETA: The link just has a trailer and it looks to me like her usual social media promotion. Under news it says something about the film being admitted to a film festival (Sept). The links to Q&A don't answer a lot of the confusion either. Was she married when this was filmed? It just talks about them being "sweethearts." And although under news, the Asian competition win is there, no mention is made of her career move.

Honestly, I'm not sure I really care to know the answers anyway. My impression is that an idealistic, talented teenager who accomplished a great deal at a very young age failed (for whatever reasons) at achieving a very unrealistic dream (to become a principal at the esteemed and very inbred Bolshoi Ballet). Like many child prodigies, things didn't work out as planned. The interesting story is more about what happens next.For a happy ending, she just needs to move on, get back to the daily drudgery of class and hopefully rehearsals in any roles (corps or soloist) and put her life back together and it will be a lot easier to do this without putting herself in under the microscope of social media.

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"Was she so desperate to become a affiliated with the Bolshoi that all financial and monetary considerations were thrown to the winds?"

No one goes into ballet for the financial/monetary considerations. I imagIne there are many in New York who would throw caution to the winds for a chance to play for the Yankees/Mets/Giants/Jets/Knicks/Rangers even at partial pay. It was her life's dream to dance for the Bolshoi; she had already thrown all to the wind just to have a shot at it.

It was not, however, a sustainable situation.

The difference is that anyone who gets drafted for one of those top teams you mentioned, even if they are on the lowest rung, gets paid pretty well. Womack wasn't even earning a living wage.

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Joy Womack *is* such a gifted and beautiful dancer that I hope that she can renew her dancing soon and bring 'joy' to audiences. [sorry, but the dancing quality of the Kremlin Ballet is not that of Bolshoi, although they have grand 'production qualities' in luxurious sets and costumes.]

I hope that she can get out of Russia, take her beloved Russian husband along (assuming that's what she wants), and just DANCE. Easier said than done, as the husband must decide if he will leave his family behind. I totally feel for them on this front - I went through this, though I'm not a dancer.

I am another one who finds the "beloved Russian husband" remark very confusing. When did this happen? The last thing that I read about this marriage matter was in Elizabeth Kiem's September 20, 2013 article THE BOLSHOI IN THE DARK.

http://www.themorningnews.org/article/the-bolshoi-in-the-dark

And the passages therein that refer to Womack are as follows:

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.

Also, is it now a fact that Joy Womack joins the State Kremlin Ballet or is it still a rumor that she will neither confirm nor deny?

The only thing that seems quite certain is that her name is mentioned now in almost every article that refers to the Dmitrichenko trial/verdict/sentence - not the kind of PR a young dancer needs. And according to her twitter account, she is currently in the US and will stay here for another week. So let's keep our eyes open for TV interviews and multi-page reports in high-gloss magazines. In any case, from what I know about PR, her new Facebook page gives the impression that a professional worked on that or at least advised her. The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.

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Official sources have reported that Womack has joined Kremlin State Ballet. She will neither confirm or deny this. Official sources can always be wrong and things can change from the time they were first reported.

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The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.

The teacher in question is Vasily Vorokhobko, a repetiteur at the Bolshoi Ballet, and she began raising money for his cancer treatment in September, before any of the brouhaha surrounding her departure.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/y353/vasily-steponovich-vorokhobko-cancer-drive?utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_thank_gift&hid=2602341&cid=2294021

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I had heard about Nikita (Joy's husband...now ex-husband?) last year. They supposedly fell in love as classmates at the school. I posted a link to the lovey-dovey website (copyrighted in 2013...so quite new) about the documentary that was supposedly being made about their story. I had no idea that it turned out to be a 'sham'...

Another important fact that may explain the vitriol directed against Joy Womack:

Joy is a Born-again Christian. I realize that this mere fact doesn't help her p.r. in the liberal world of the arts in America. Just sayin'.

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Official sources have reported that Womack has joined Kremlin State Ballet. She will neither confirm or deny this. Official sources can always be wrong and things can change from the time they were first reported.

Didn't Ilya Kusnetsov (the Moscow Ilya...not the more famous one from StPetersburg) dance with Kremlin Ballet for years, before teaching at the Moscow-Bolshoi academy? I think so.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ilyaballet

For someone so open & public on the internet, he seems curiously quiet on the entire Joy Womack matter.

Ilya accompanied Joy to classes in NYC in summer 2012, shortly after her graduation, before she got her first-year corps contract at the Bolshoi. Now Joy gets a contract with Kremlin Ballet. Connect the dots.... That doesn't necessarily mean that Joy will bite and go to the 3rd-best Moscow troupe (after Bolshoi & Stanislavsky). She should not, honestly. Joy should take her talent to a good western troupe (USA or other N.Am./Western Europe nation) and salvage her career, I would advise. I would also advise her to 'cool' the 'born-again' angle, not hide it but 'dial it down' so that people see her as a Ballerina and not 'the born-again Ballerina.'

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The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.

The teacher in question is Vasily Vorokhobko, a repetiteur at the Bolshoi Ballet, and she began raising money for his cancer treatment in September, before any of the brouhaha surrounding her departure.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/y353/vasily-steponovich-vorokhobko-cancer-drive?utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_thank_gift&hid=2602341&cid=2294021

Thank you very much for clearing this up. But when I look at this auction now

http://www.forvasily.cloudandvictory.com/

and see that Joy Womack bids on several of the items, even bought one of them, - the Bloch Gift Certificate -, then I'm getting confused again...

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The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.

The teacher in question is Vasily Vorokhobko, a repetiteur at the Bolshoi Ballet, and she began raising money for his cancer treatment in September, before any of the brouhaha surrounding her departure.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/y353/vasily-steponovich-vorokhobko-cancer-drive?utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_thank_gift&hid=2602341&cid=2294021

Thank you very much for clearing this up. But when I look at this auction now

http://www.forvasily.cloudandvictory.com/

and see that Joy Womack bids on several of the items, even bought one of them, - the Bloch Gift Certificate -, then I'm getting confused again...

What's the confusion? She likely approached the companies to donate specifically to her teacher's fund—that is, the companies gave in-kind donations to the auction, not to Womack. Then she bid on some of the items, using her own money.

It's something that happens frequently in fundraisers: an event chair will approach companies, ask for in-kind donations for an auction, and then will also bid on the items they like. Not exactly unseemly behavior.

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It's something that happens frequently in fundraisers: an event chair will approach companies, ask for in-kind donations for an auction, and then will also bid on the items they like. Not exactly unseemly behavior.

It may not be unseemly but, personally, I find it disturbing. The initiator, organizer, or co-organizer of a charity auction has plenty of opportunity to contribute to the cause when everything is said and done. So why participate in the actual auction? To push up the prices, of course, I understand that, especially as it is for a good cause. But again, this may not be unseemly but I find it disturbing.

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For small, local auctions for charity, especially to support a person, this is very common, especially when, while the auction is open to the public, the target audience is small. Also, often in a small group, people don't know what they should bid, are afraid of looking cheap, and don't bid at all. Many auctions have people set up in advance to be the icebreakers, and sometimes with money fronted by the sponsors. She didn't do that: she was transparent about bidding.

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She debuted as Gamzatti and posted 3 video's of her variation shot from the wings:

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In April Joy Womack was awarded the Second Prize as well as a Special Prize for "creative individuality" at the «Arabesque 2014» competition in Perm.

Having read her monologue that appeared in Russian «Esquire» and the interview with her on the eve of her debut as Gamzatti last March in Kazan (with excellent Kristina Andreeva dancing Nikiya's part), I must say I am truly impressed by Joy's eloquence and personality. Extraordinary for somebody so young and a dancer at that!

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Joy Womack's latest interview: http://sessions.cloudandvictory.com/interview-joy-womack/ Very interesting interview, still contradictory in her statements, but much more poised than her media blitz last fall. Interesting that she says her original interview to the press was released by someone else and not her. Hard to see how an interview can be done by someone else unless they were impersonating you... Very strange. But wish all the best to Joy. Seems like she is much happier now.

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From the interview,

Why did you decide to go public, given that it would put such a big target on you and your career?
I wasn’t going to go public with it until I left the theatre and like, 5 years had passed! But a woman who knew my story, who was in the same dressing room as me, found out I was going on a tour for a week without internet. And she gave my interview to a Russian newspaper and they published it.

She pretended to be you?
No necessarily pretended to be me. She did it out of the kindness of her heart. She really loved me, and she watched me struggle for a year. And she was in support of a person who was being wrongly accused. It was the time when Filin was going to give his testimony for the trial and she was like, “well this will be a curve ball to throw at the Filin crew. Joy’s story needs to be told.” And she was told me I had to go to the press until I made things okay and safe. Because it was really a dangerous time. I was fearing for my life. So this woman went to the press.

So I get back from tour, I get on the metro, and there’s my picture blown up on the tabloids. It was so scary. I was being followed. And that was when I decided I needed to set the record straight with the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

She's not clear about what happened, but that's fairly standard from all of her interviews. Of course it's her prerogative to drop bombs like that she was afraid for her life and not elucidate, leaving underlying accusations in their wake, or being vague long after she had time to sort the narrative. The only things that are clear from this interview are that her dressing room mate, partly in order to defend the (unnamed) accused by shaking up the Filin trial, went to the press with Womack's story, and that Womack feels she did it out of love and concern for Womack, who feared for her life. (It isn't clear why she felt targeted specifically, when there was such a rift in the company and so many Dmitrichenko supporters.) Whether the woman handed over a fake interview using things or versions of things Womack had said, or things this woman observed and put in interview form, or the press turned what the woman told them into an interview, etc. isn't told.

What she does say clearly is that she didn't choose to go public, but after the story was leaked and broke while she was on tour and not connected to the internet, and the Russian tabloids followed her after she returned from tour, she decided to speak to the LA Times and NYT.

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This thing sounds now weirdest than ever. Now her original "interview" wasn't an interview, but a story given to the press by a third person, without the knowledge and consent of its owner and then made into an interview. I don't recall reading about Womack declaring nothing on this matter originally. To be honest, the whole thing seems to me yet another advised damage control strategy.

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The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.

The teacher in question is Vasily Vorokhobko, a repetiteur at the Bolshoi Ballet, and she began raising money for his cancer treatment in September, before any of the brouhaha surrounding her departure.

Sadly, Vasily Vorokhobko has died. The Bolshoi has announced that his funeral will take place on Friday.

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