The beleaguered Bolshoi Ballet has announced that it would not be renewing the contract of one of its most prominent dancers, Nikolai Tsiskaridze at the end of the month. Tsiskaridze’s departure is the latest in a line of scandals to rock the famous ballet company.
Relations between the dancer and his employers had soured in the wake of the acid attack on Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin in January of this year. Tsiskaridze, 39, accused the management, and in particular general director Anatoly Iskanov, of pursuing a concerted campaign against him when he was reported to have been involved in the incident. Filin suffered third degree burns to his face and neck after acid was thrown on him outside his home on January 17. Another Bolshoi soloist, Pavel Dmitrichenko, has since admitted to the crime, along with two accomplices. They are yet to come to trial.
Tsikaridze was given two official reprimands for giving unauthorised interviews in the wake of the attack. Relations between Tsiskaridze and the Bolshoi had been deteriorating since October 2011, when the dancer openly criticised the standard of the theatre’s 21 billion rouble renovation. In January 2012 Tsiskaridze was removed from his teaching post with the company.
Tsiskaridze, from Tbilisi, Georgia, joined the troupe in 1992. In 2001 he became the youngest ever recipient of the title “People’s Artist of Russia”, in recognition of his success as a dancer.