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Anastasia Volochkova


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I first saw the story on the Today Show this morning, and was flabergasted. When they said she was fired for being fat at that weight I immediatly thought of all the young dancers watching the show before school... Then the host made some comments like, 'I think the guys need to lift some weights', basically insinuating that they thought that 109 lbs was quite thin. It is too bad that the coverage on the national news is so poor in comparisson to this website! I mean, obviously the real facts are not hard to come by, and they were not even touched upon in the segment I saw. Disgusting. :angry:

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mbjerk wrote

What is the record for the most posts on a single topic in a short period?

Can't think of many -- but how many times does ballet get a story on the front page of newspapers AND on the Today Show.

For those coming late to this thread, please check today's Links in the Links forum. There are several substantive stories that do get at what's behind the ice cream.

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the story was this 109 pound Bolshoi dancer was fired for being too heavy, and the dancers couldn't lift her. 

This is NOT something I want our young dancers to hear and take to heart.  I can see starving adolescent ballet students collapsing in studios all over the country as they cut calories to the bone in an effort to be "not too heavy."  Please, someone give us the real "skinny" on this story!!

Let us simply say that 109 lbs. and 5'6" tall under ordinary circumstances does NOT constitute overweight for the purposes of dancing, so young people should be aware that what is going on here is that:

1) Both Ms. Volochkova and the Bolshoi representatives who have been quoted have taken highly personal and subjective positions and made statements of opinion.

2) The appropriate place to try the facts of the matter is in a courtroom, and/or for each side to submit to mediation or arbitration.

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They interviewed a young dancer from the Joffrey School who actually said on national television that "most dancers have bulimia or are sick."

For heaven's sake!!!  What an ignorant, lousy thing to say about your own art form.  Someone needs to suggest to this young lady that she learn to exercise some control over her mouth.

Oh-ho-ho-ho yes, I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall of Edith D'Addario's office the day THAT one hit! On second thought, maybe not. Might have crisped my wings!

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I know this story has been mentioned a great many places (New York Times, Good Morning America, &c) but you know it's a big deal when it is actually mentioned in my hometown's newspaper :o I was absolutely shocked :ermm: No ballet ever gets in there except when the local ballet studio brings in guest artists for Nutcracker and they get a tiny article and a couple photos. Now if only they'd start reviewing performances... :rolleyes: :dry:

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Old Fashioned, I know exactly what you mean. I'm still trying to decide whether it's good or bad that they didn't list her height and weight. I wouldn't want people to think she really is overweight (for a dancer) but at the same time, I wouldn't want them thinking ballet companies are insane, firing a dancer that thin for being fat (which I realize is not even the real issue in the case). I think I'd rather they hadn't printed the story at all.

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NBC also had this on the news Sunday evening, but they rather emphasized that the "overweight" issue was a cover for other issues...Specifically citing the theory, seemingly confirmed by Volochkova in an interview -- though the editing made it a bit hard to judge -- that a wealthy "oil-man" ex-boyfriend was exerting pressure on the company in revenge for her having left him. (I assume it's not gossip, or at any rate not forbidden gossip, if it's on the news?) They also claimed that her "injured" ex-partner had been on Russian t.v. dancing and evidently in fine health...

However, the main thing I wanted to say was that I was actually surprized at how many different clips of Volochkova they showed. In some she looked just ravishing, in others a bit off (uncentered or, as best I could judge, with a sickled foot). When the voice over was discussing the weight issue they had a clip, evidently chosen quite deliberately, in which she appeared positively skinny. It looked something like Nikiya's solo at Solor's wedding in Bayadere -- midriff baring costume and all. The report also said that she had been criticized for a larger than life personality and self-promotion and compared her to "J Lo" but included an interview with a Russian dance critic praising her as a rare talent. The anchor had a slight smirk on his face when they cut back to him after the report was over, but I thought that overall the reporter was trying to give the piece a post-Soviet Russian corruption angle though it was clearly still intended as a fluff piece.

I have a question, though, that only indirectly relates to this issue...I have a vague notion that I saw Volochkova with the Kirov some years ago at the Met. in Swan Lake -- a Saturday matinee? Is that possible? I remember a ballerina with very long legs and high extensions. (I didn't particularly care for the performance -- except for Ivanova in the Act I pas de trois, plus a fabulous Spanish dance.) It definitely wasn't Lopatkina as she danced the Saturday evening Swan Lake.

Oh and on the lifting business...Many years ago at an ABT lecture demonstration, two dancers made a point of demonstrating how, ironically enough, a woman who doesn't help her partner at all, but is in effect a dead weight, LOOKS like a feather as he hauls her into the air, whereas if she really helps a lot with a big, big jump she actually looks quite heavy. The dancers suggested that the middle way was best for both partners, but the woman really did look just dreamy when she did nothing...For that reason, I have always believed the Markova story. However, professionals on this board may have other experiences, or other techniques for lifts...

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How times have changed :thumbsup: Irina Baronova had stopped dancing for a while and put on weight. When she did come back to class there was a lot of buzz around town. The talk was: "Baronova is back taking class at Vilzak-Shollar and she looks wonderful, she has slimmed down to 126 lbs."

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Off the AP this morning, the Russian Labor Ministry, after receiving a formal complaint from Volochkova has called her dismissal from the Bolshoi illegal and states that they should rehire her. At least they are treating this as a labor dispute and not a "fat dancer" story.

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Yes, there's a link to this story on today's Links forum. Although what often happens in labor disputes is that a company feels it needs to get rid of a dancer who's been a problem, but many dancers unions have negotiated contracts where a dancer can only be cut for an artistic reason, and so the company has to come up with an artistic reason -- which, of course, can be subjective: you're not fast enough for the new repertory we're bringing in next season, or you're too heavy to be lifted. NOT saying that's what happened here; I don't know. But it's happened in other companies.

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I saw the piece on The Today Show yesterday, and when I say "saw," I mean it was like driving through a one-horse town. Blink and you missed it. I went to moscowballet.com to get some more news, where the official story remains that she's overweight at 5'7" and 110 pounds. Just for some frame of reference, I remember the cover story on Shirley MacLaine in Time Magazine the year she turned 50, describing herself as a "big" dancer at 5'7" and 135 pounds. That's more where I am now, myself, although I did have many years in the 108-114 area, and wouldn't mind at all if I could have a taste of those days again. The original "Funny Face" was 5'7" and 110 pounds, and who would DARE to call the world's most beloved gamine fat?!?

As a former newswoman, I did find the news blurb rather cheap and obvious in its intent -- designed solely to elicit a reaction by reporters and public alike.

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Speaking of Anastasia Volochkova, I was watching a video I borrowed from the library today. It's a documentry made by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in 1998, named "Tarnished Glory of The Kirov Ballet", and by accident I found out that they were interviewing Anastasia when she was 20, on her way to her stardom. She seemed so humble and shy, very soft-spoken, which is totally different from what I see in the news about her incident with Bolshoi. She just got her passport taken away (http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/ae/2451900) , it sounds like she's in for some big troubles.

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In the June 2004 issue of Blades on Ice is an item announcing that World Figure Skating Men's champion Evgeny Plushenko and Anastasia Volochkova are collaborating on a music video that "will be a love story featuring Plushenko and Volochkova."

Volochkova is described as "a multi-talented Prima Donna. She is also a fashion and makeup model, a show business personality and an actress who is very popular with Russian mass media."

Most interesting is the assertion that

He was a talented dancer in his yourth.  Plushenko so impressed a choreographer from the Mariinsky Theater Ballet that he was offered the chance to dance instead of skate.

At nearly six feet tall, I think he would have made quite the partner.

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she's gotten married recently it seems. very interesting description of her wedding.


Wow, that's blamboyancy right there!!...Well, she always was. To tell the truth, i always found her to be a beautiful dancer, with a fine body, not overweight at all. She is tall, and sometimes she reminded me, when being pertenered by a shorter male dancer, the Gregory/Bujones phenomenom...

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If anyone (like me) was wondering whatever happened to Ms Volochkova, she seems to be appearing in a reality TV show in which celebrities learn to ice dance.

Clips of her in "Ice Age" (the name of the show) are available on YouTube. Her partner is Anton Sikharulidze.

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I know this is an old thread but i just saw a clip of her on you tube.

It was some gala thing she was doing.

I have to say it was odd.

Her feet were terrible ! Her pointe is awful. I mean really bad she slipped like three times! In fairness she did not fall. Her toe point was bad and she seemed clumsy at times.

Her back seemed stiff. Her port de bras was well strange!

Her extensions were very very good though, good line with good height.

One things was strange she she not seem to be able to turn or spin at all really well.

And i am sorry she did seem a bit out of shape to me in the clip she is tall for a dancer if she never wanted to have a partner fair enough but it is not fair on the guys they end up suffering later in life even if there is not much lifting and they are mainly supporting her it would be awkward. Jockies have to be 98 pounds or something like we treat the horses better than the guys sometimes. I am not saying weight has to be such a big issue or anything.

What she was doing was in no way representative of ballet.

i really think that her company and school seemed to go through a period of trying to produce glamorous ballerinas with emphasis on huge extension and not much else and forgetting artistry and they kind of made her into what she is. She is a passionate person who wishes to express herself through a glamorous lifestyle rather than a classical art. But i cant help but think they made her. She is therefore given to a dramatic lifestyle and personality but she cant translate this onto the stage. As she is not really interested in taking the nuances of the art seriously.

There are plenty of dancers with better extension it is something that if you work at it will come techniques go beyond that though , i

IT was not just that she seemed larger she seemed well to lack fitness or something lightness it is not to do with weight she did not seem very agile for a dancer i have seen large dancers who are very graceful and nimble. But she did look very out of shape to me for a dancer. Maybe it was just in that clip and she is not usually like that i dont know. I do think that if you are a larger dancer it is your duty to make things easier for your partner by giving the time to rehearsal and giving everything you have into the technique of using muscle tension and relaxation to achieve lightness and it can be very technical and she does not seem like a very technically aware dancer. I am very very small, slight and thin but i still work hard at that type of stuff i have not done much partner work but when i have it was always about working together to make sure neither one of us had to work too hard we try to make the other one look good he trys to make you look like you have a better back than you do or a better line and you make his strength seem effortless !! And i know a lot of dancers that would have been bigger than me but could lift light (in fact they can surprise you!) if you know what i mean but you have to learn it and you sort of have to learn it anew every time because it is different with every partner. And it is not just about counterbalance there comes a point when you cant make someone any lighter.

And i do doubt it was because of her weight that she was fired like what has been said above there seem to be many factors involved.

I thing it is a pity that none of them have anything to do with ballet but everything to do with the dancer herself and perhaps the kind of artistic or lack or artistic atmosphere that sometimes happens unfortunately in ballet. She seems to have come from a period when it was all about the next big thing , they kind of set her up for it really, there seems to be the idea in her head that if you have a good extension then you dont need anything else and that is what she thinks ballet is (DONT GET ME WRONG I AM OBSESSED WITH MY OWN EXTENSION LOL!!:-). Or at least that is what it seemed to me anyway there where huge technical gaps in her dancing. Maybe she needs a more consistent coach and more consistent classes with a consistent schedule but i guess that is not who she is. And i suppose we all have to be who we are.

She seems to do just showcases and music video stuff?? It sort of mimics ballet in style but looks odd!

It is not ballet but whatever it is i wish her luck:-)

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