Former Bolshoi ballerina claims dancers are pimped out

ninemsn staff
3:56pm March 20, 2013
Russian ballerina Anastasia Volochkova after a rehearsal in 2003.
Russian ballerina Anastasia Volochkova after a rehearsal in 2003.

A former prima ballerina with the famous Bolshoi Theatre has accused the company of forcing its female dancers to sleep with wealthy patrons.

But the ballet's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, said former soloist Anastasia Volochkova's claims were "nonsense and dirt".

Ms Volochkova accused theatre management of expecting its ballerinas to go to the parties of rich businessmen and then sleep with them.

She said refusal to do so could affect a dancer's career in the theatre.

"It mainly happened with the corps du ballet but also with the soloists," she said on the Russian News Service radio station.

"Unfortunately, the Bolshoi general director has turned the Bolshoi theatre into a giant brothel.

"Ten years ago when I was dancing at the theatre, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the bed of oligarchs.

"The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex.

"When the girls asked, 'What happens if we refuse?', they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theatre."

Ms Volochkova, who was reportedly fired from the ballet company for being overweight in 2003, has made claims about dancers being used as escorts before but said the practice was now "a lot worse" than when she left.

The scandalous accusations come after top Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other men were arrested earlier this month over an acid attack that damaged the face and eyes of the theatre's artistic director in January.

Investigators said fierce rivalries at the dance company may have been a motive for the crime.

Source: AFP, ABC News, Bloomberg

Author: Alexandra Pleffer, Approving editor: Nick Pearson

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