Bolshoi Ballet Battle Continues: Anatoly Iksanov And Nikolai Tsiskaridze Argue Over The Institute's Future
MOSCOW — The Bolshoi Theater's general director has rejected criticism from an assertive principal dancer who is openly aspiring to take his job at the famed Russian dance theater.
Anatoly Iksanov responded Tuesday to dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze's claim that he feels ready to take the top job by saying that his opponent's "fame and scandalousness" aren't enough for the position.
The two men have waged an increasingly ugly public battle since the Jan. 17 acid attack on Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin.
Iksanov has blamed Tsiskaridze for creating an atmosphere of intrigue that contributed to the attack. The dancer has accused Iksanov of using the attack to settle scores.
When asked about critical statements from the dancer, Iksanov said he wouldn't comment on "nonsense and dirt."
Sergei Filin: The Victim
<strong>Name:</strong> Sergei Filin <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Artistic Director <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Victim Mr. Filin, a former principal dancer at the Bolshoi, was the victim of the horrific January 2013 acid attack, suffering third-degree burns on his face and damage to his eyes that required intensive surgery to save his sight. This was the latest in a series of threatening acts perpetrated against the artistic director, including a tire slashing and email hack. Many believe the attack was instigated as a result of the "Black Swan"-like competition present amongst dancers at the theater. "The director of the ballet decides everything," explained one company ballerina. "The amount of grants given to every artist, or perhaps not given, who will dance which roles and who will not dance them." <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> Before the attack, Filin reportedly stated "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/sergei-filin-acid-attack-bolshoi-ballet-chief-has-surgery_n_2511099.html">I have a feeling that I am on the front lines</a>," referring to the ongoing conflicts at the Bolshoi. Image: AP Photo/Misha Japaridze
Nikolai Tsiskaridze, The Suspect
<strong>Name:</strong> Nikolai Tsiskaridze <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Principal Dancer <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Suspect Tsiskaridze is one the Bolshoi's leading ballerinos who has a reputation for bad mouthing the theater's administration. He was an early suspect in the acid attack investigation, implicated by the Bolshoi's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, who said, "I don't blame that particular crime on him, but I'm accusing Nikolai of escalating the situation at the theater, of putting psychological pressure on the theater's staff and management, on Filin, on myself and teachers." Tsiskaridze <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/bolshoi-ballet-acid-attact-dancers-suspected_n_2671338.html">made the situation worse by questioning whether or not the acid attack actually happened</a>... <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> “<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/bolshoi-ballet-acid-attact-dancers-suspected_n_2671338.html">The point is that acid is a very dangerous thing, and if you have studied chemistry or read about other incidents of this kind, you must know that there are always horrible consequences... If a person is speaking and giving interviews right away, it all looks very strange.</a>” Image: AP Photo/Bolshoi Theater, Damir Yusupov
Anatoly Iksanov, The Accuser
<strong>Name:</strong> Anatoly Iksanov <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> General Director <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Accuser Head of the theater's administration and Filin's boss, Iksanov is a primary figure in the company's ensuing imbroglio and stated early on that he believed dancer Tsiskaridze was involved in some way in the acid attack. The two have had strained relations ever since <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/dance/9835340/Anatoly-Iksanov-interview-Evil-has-entered-the-Bolshoi.html">Iksanov rejected Tsiskaridze's application to become artistic director several years ago</a>. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> "Tsiskaridze is like an abscess. All his worldwide speaking bad about his own home which made him a star, and he is doing it and he never stops and he will not be stopped. Without any punishment or any reaction, he is free to do what he wants – it brings an unhealthy atmosphere inside the company. I am not ashamed to say it openly, because evil has now appeared here.” Image: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images
Pavel Dmitrichenko, Confessed To Being Behind The Attack
<strong>Name:</strong> Pavel Dmitrichenko <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Soloist <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> He's the guy who reportedly organized the attack. Dmitrichenko confessed to police to masterminding the attack on Sergei Filin and hiring two men, Yuri Zarutsky and Andrei Lipatov, to enact the assault. However, he denies bring acid into the equation. "I told Yuri Zarutsky about the policies of the Bolshoi Theater, about the bad things going on, the corruption. When he said: 'OK, let me beat him up, hit him upside the head,' I agreed, but that is all that I admit to doing. It's not true that I ordered him to throw acid at Filin," he told Moscow Police. So why did he want to injure Filin? The 29-year-old claims his conflict with Filin was focused on the distribution of salaries and other financial issues, but rumor has it he may have wanted to take revenge for his girlfriend, who has lately been passed up for roles at the theater by Filin. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> The images of Dmitrichenko as Ivan the Terrible at a Bolshoi performance are far more memorable than anything he has said. Image: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Anzhelina Vorontsova, The Girlfriend
<strong>Name:</strong> Anzhelina Vorontsova <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Soloist <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> The Girlfriend Vorontsova was brought to Moscow by Filin in 2008 where she was a star ballerina at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Ballet company. A year later, she moved to the Bolshoi. Filin later moved to the more prestigious institute as well, but <a href="http://www.newser.com/story/163996/at-acid-attacks-center-this-ballerina.html">rumor has it that tensions remained between the two dancers</a>. Fast forward to this year and Vorontsova is dating Pavel Dmitrichenko, the man who confessed to organizing the attack on Filin, and dancing alongside Tsiskaridze. Speculators says Dmitrichenko instigated the attack in part because Vorontsova was being passed up for roles. One ballet teacher had the following to say about it: "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/bolshoi-attacker-found-st_n_2817718.html?utm_hp_ref=arts">How could Filin 'elbow her out'? Tsiskaridze is mentoring and coaching her -- but she was just plain fat.</a>" <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> We've yet to hear from the blond ballerina. Image: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Yuri Zarutsky, The Alleged Attacker
<strong>Name:</strong> Yuri Zarutsky <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> He's not affiliated with the company, but lives in a dacha (summer home) near Dmitrichenko. <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> The Alleged Attacker Zarutsky was reportedly paid <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4602c57e-871c-11e2-9dd7-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MsiOzPnD">50,000 rubles ($1,630)</a> to attack Filin outside of his home. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> According to Dmitrichenko, he simply said, "OK, let me beat him up, hit him upside the head," after the dissatisfied dancer enlightened him on the "corruption" happening at the Bolshoi. Image: AP Photo/ Interior Ministry branch website
Andrei Lipatov, The Alleged Driver
<strong>Name:</strong> Andrei Lipatov <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> He's not affiliated with the company. <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> The Alleged Driver Andrei Lipatov is the third defendant accused of being involved in the acid attack of Filin. He reportedly drove the getaway car, but is insisting that <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/moscow-police-star-dancer-paid-2-men-about-1600-to-attack-bolshoi-ballet-chief/2013/03/07/c58266b8-86f6-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_story.html">he did not know the purpose of his chauffeur adventure</a>. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> Not a peep from the driver... yet. Image: AP Photo/ Moscow Interior Ministry branch website
Galina Stepanenko, The Stand-In
<strong>Name:</strong> Galina Stepanenko <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Acting Artistic Director <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Filin's stand-in after the attack Stepanenko has been with the Bolshoi since 1990 and has been a company instructor since 2012. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> She told CNN that she's going to continue Filin's programming, adding that she thinks "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/06/world/europe/russia-acid-attack/index.html">the dancers will now be united by greater respect and care for each other."</a> Image: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Katerina Novikova, The Messenger
<strong>Name:</strong> Katerina Novikova <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Bolshoi Spokesperson <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> The Messenger Novikova's name has been in all of the news reports, but not for any actual involvement in the acid attack. She's simply the Bolshoi's spokesperson. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> After Dmitrichenko was detained by police, Novikova had this to say about his arrest and pending trial: “<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/03/06/three_men_including_star_dancer_confess_to_bolshoi_ballet_director_acid_attack/">It’s important for the future so that nobody acts like this, because they will know that they’re going to be punished. It’s important for the theater, and it’s important for the whole country.</a>” Image: AP Photo/Misha Japaridze
Yuri Grigorovich, The Predecessor
<strong>Name:</strong> Yuri Grigorovich <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Former Artistic Director <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Filin's Predecessor Grigorovich served as artistic director for more than thirty years, resigning in 1995 after he was blamed for the company's financial troubles. He has since returned as a ballet master and choreographer at the Bolshoi, training both Dmitrichenko and Tsiskaridze. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> The quote isn't Grigorovich's, but who could forget these words written by Dmitrichenko in the comments section of an unfavorable review by Kommersant Daily: "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/06/bolshoi-ballet-acid-attack-pavel-dmitrichenko_n_2817956.html">I'm happy, I'm accomplished, I work with the genius of a teacher, I work with Genius, Grigorovich himself!!! What about you??</a>" Image: AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File
BONUS: Svetlana Lunkina, The Threatened Ballerina
<strong>Name:</strong> Svetlana Lunkina <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Ballerina <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> She also received death threats, but was not even in the country when Filin was attacked. In fact, her beef is with former comedian and head of the Vinokur Foundation for Arts and Culture, Vladimir Vinokur, who allegedly had a falling out with Lunkina's husband, Vladislav Moskalyov, over a movie deal. After Filin's assault, however, she has opted to stay in Canada and has called for the Bolshoi to address the threatening activity happening at the theater. Vinokur has ignored Lunkina's claims, instead stating that a disagreement took place between Filin and Moskalyov. <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/bolshoi-ballerina-svetlana-lunkina-says-she-fears-for-her-life_n_2581618.html">I think we must seriously respond to the threats. These people have no right to meddle in our private life or my professional activities</a>." Image: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
UPDATE: Anastasia Volochkova, The Former Dancer
<strong>Name:</strong> Anastasia Volochkova <strong>Position At Bolshoi:</strong> Former Soloist <strong>Involvment In Acid Attack:</strong> Volochkova was dismissed from the Bolshoi before the attack even happened, but after the debacle, she accused ballet management of "<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/bolshoi-ballerinas-pimped-ex-dancer-claims-194206597--abc-news-topstories.html" target="_blank">pimping out its female dancers to wealthy donors</a>." <strong>Memorable Quote:</strong> <a href="http://uk.news.yahoo.com/ex-bolshoi-soloist-alleges-dancers-forced-sex-170302343.html#LhppDIs" target="_hplink">Unfortunately, the Bolshoi general director has turned the Bolshoi theatre into a giant brothel</a>." Image: Getty