Ballerina claims Bolshoi dancers were pimped out by their director.
The internationally renowned classical ballet company, based out of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia has come under fire by a former dancer.
Russian prima ballerina Anastasia Volochkova is accusing the dance company of pimping out its female dancers to wealthy donors.
“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.
In addition, the ballerina claims that those 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.
Theater spokesperson Katerina Novikova declined to comment on the specific claims, saying, “I don’t know yet if the [theater’s] management has decided on how to react to everything that was said in the show.”
Volochkova was dismissed by the Bolshoi in 2003, because the company thought she was too tall and heavy. However, a Moscow court ruled that she had to be reinstated immediately and awarded back pay and damages.
On being fired by the Bolshoi Ballet, Volochkova has said: “At that time, I was not dancing either at the Mariinsky or the Bolshoi, and I knew that I had two options – the first was to be afraid of the world of ballet, and the second was to create something new and unusual that would let me stand in front of an audience of my own, independently. I wanted to be a ballerina by my own right and to create in my own name.