A top Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer whose conflicts with management intensified after this year's acid attack on the artistic director is being let go by the Russian dance and theatre company.
Considered a thorn in the side of Bolshoi managers, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, 39, was reprimanded for giving unauthorized interviews after the Jan. 17 attack on artistic director Sergei Filin.
On Saturday, he was told that "his fixed-term contracts will not be renewed. His contract runs out June 30," Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told Russian media.
The veteran dancer — a member of the Bolshoi since 1992 — told Russia's NTV that he questions management's decision to let him go and said he was hired as a member of the corps de ballet and is not on contract.
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Though considered among the world's greatest dance companies, the venerable Bolshoi has been mired in intrigue, infighting and rivalries. For instance, the key post of artistic director has changed frequently over the past 15 years.
Outspoken critic of current Bolshoi leadership
A devotee of former Bolshoi head Yuri Grigorovich, Tsiskaridze has complained repeatedly of corruption at the Bolshoi and urged the removal of the current leadership.
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He described January's attack on Filin as the result of corruption at the company and unfair treatment of dancers. He also alleged that managers have been trying to force him out. He put forward his own name as consideration to take over leadership of the company.
Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov has accused Tsiskaridze himself of being linked to and inspiring the attack on Filin, through alleged incitement of tensions within the company.
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In March, Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other men were charged in connection with the acid attack. They are currently in jail awaiting trial and face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Earlier this year, 300 Bolshoi dancers and other employees issued an open letter defending 29-year-old Dmitrichenko. They said that police failed to produce any evidence of his guilt and argued he had been pressured into slandering himself to police.
Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, is coached by Tsiskaridze.