A Bolshoi Ballet prima ballerina who has spent several months in Canada has purportedly decided to remain rather than return home, according to a Russian newspaper report.
Renowned principal dancer Svetlana Lunkina told Izvestia daily that she faced threats and blackmail in Russia, but did not offer specific details. Lunkina has danced with the Bolshoi since 1997. Renowned on the world stage, the venerable Russian company has nonetheless been mired in controversy about favouritism and power struggles, changing leadership multiple times in the past decade.
"We need to react to these threats," Lunkina told the paper. "These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work."
The news comes after the shocking acid attack against Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin earlier this month, although Lunkina told the paper she thought there wasn't a connection between the threats against her and the attack on Filin.
The 33-year-old dancer has been in Canada since fall 2012.
She recently participated in dance classes at the Toronto-based National Ballet of Canada, a courtesy the company extends to visiting dancers, spokeswoman Catherine Chang told CBC News.
On Friday, Lunkina is also scheduled to begin a month-long teaching stint for Toronto's Dance Teq studio, whose instructors include artistic director Kevin Pugh and other former National Ballet dancers. He confirmed to CBC that Lunkina recently subbed for him.
The ballerina and her husband, event producer Vladislav Moskalev, may have plans for a new dance company. She registered the name Svetlana Lunkina Dance Company in Kleinburg, Ont., at the beginning of October.