ARTS & CULTURE
03/20/2013 03:05 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2013

Bolshoi Ballerinas Pimped Out? Anastasia Volochkova, Ex-Dancer, Says Company Was A 'Huge Brothel'

The beloved and scandal-besieged Bolshoi Ballet has been hit with yet another controversy.

Former star dancer Anastasia Volochkova has accused the world-renowned dance company of pimping out its female dancers.

"It was mainly with the women of the corps du ballet, though it happened with the soloists too. Unfortunately, it turns out that the director of the Bolshoi Theater himself…has turned the [company] into a huge brothel," Volochkova, once a soloist for the dance company, told Russian News Service radio station, according to a Huffington Post translation.

"Ten years ago when I was working at the theater and dancing, I will say that I repeatedly received such offers … to share the beds of oligarchs and [to attend] their banquets," she continued, adding that she had also heard from other dancers that they had been forced to attend these events and had been warned beforehand that sex would be expected of them.

Volochkova, who was dismissed by the company in 2003 for being "too fat," added that the dancers who refused to sleep with the theater's wealthy patrons were threatened with professional repercussions.

"[There was] a fear of losing one's job and the opportunity to dance," she said, according to Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda.

On Tuesday, the theater's general director Anatoly Iksanov dismissed Volochkova's allegations, saying that he would not "comment on dirt and ravings," according to the Agence France-Presse.

As ABC News notes, Volochkova's accusations are just the "latest black eye" for the famous Russian ballet company, which has been plagued in recent months by scandals, rumors and infighting.

In January, the Bolshoi was thrust into turmoil when Sergei Filin, the company's artistic director, was attacked by a masked man who threw sulfuric acid in his face. Filin, who had been on his way back to his Moscow home when he was assaulted, suffered third-degree burns on his face and neck.

In a shocking turn of events, Pavel Dmitrichenko, a principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, was arrested earlier this month over suspicion of his involvement in the attack, the Washington Post reported at the time.

In the wake of the acid attack, the Bolshoi has been cast under a revealing spotlight of scrutiny.

According to a Wednesday report by the Associated Press, the attack "exposed rivalries reminiscent of the Hollywood movie 'Black Swan.'"

At the moment, for instance, there is an ongoing feud between principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze -- who was once also accused of being involved in the assault on Filin -- and the theater's General Director Anatoly Iksanov.

Tsiskaridze alleges that the company has suffered under the throes of rampant mismanagement and corruption under Iksanov's leadership; while on his part, Iksanov has blamed Tsiskaridze for "creating an atmosphere of intrigue that set the scene for the Jan. 17 acid attack."

In February, NPR's Elizabeth Blair had this to say of the scandals plaguing the beleaguered theater: "The back-stabbing, the gossip, the power struggles -- the story of the Bolshoi has more twists than a soap opera."

EARLIER ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Who's Who At The Bolshoi
Subscribe to the Culture Shift email.
Get your weekly dose of books, film and culture.

CONVERSATIONS