MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Bolshoi Theater has rejected demands by its premier dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze to revoke disciplinary action against him, as a result of which the sides have failed to settle their dispute out of court, a spokeswoman for the theater said on Thursday.
“Through his legal representative, the plaintiff has deliberately put forward demands that we consider unacceptable. For this reason, no out-of-court agreement has been reached,” spokeswoman Alina Kudryavtseva said.
Tsiskaridze described the theater’s response as a “publicity stunt.”
“The Bolshoi Theater has no intention of reaching an amicable agreement. It’s just another publicity stunt,” the famously outspoken dancer said, adding that “litigation will follow.”
In interviews given in late January, Tsiskaridze accused the Bolshoi administration of a “deliberate persecution” campaign against him, and of using the acid attack on the theater’s ballet troupe artistic director Sergei Filin that shocked the world in January as a pretext to deal with Tsiskaridze and other “unwanted” figures. The theater’s management dismissed the statement.
In February, the dancer was reprimanded twice for giving interviews without obtaining permission from the theater’s management.
The Bolshoi slipped into chronic decay amid the economic turmoil of the 1990s that succeeded the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, the government has invested heavily in restoring the theater's interior and its annual budget has now reached around $120 million. The rush of cash has ensured the return of opulent productions, but has also turned the Bolshoi into a nest of vicious infighting. Another male ballet soloist, Pavel Dmitrichenko, was charged last month with ordering the attack on Filin, in which acid was thrown in the artistic director’s face, leaving him with third-degree burns to his face and eyes.
The theater was earlier involved in a bitter and public legal dispute with dancer Anastasia Volochkova, who was fired in 2003, reportedly for being overweight. A court in 2004 ordered Volochkova’s reinstatement, but though she is still officially employed by the theater, she has not secured any roles since 2004.
Last month, she added fuel to the fire of the scandal engulfing the Bolshoi by claiming that the theater pimps out its ballerinas to wealthy Russian businessmen. The theater’s director dismissed the allegations.