Bolshoi Ballet Pimped Out Its Dancers: Claim

Fired soloist says girls were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 20, 2013 12:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you thought the Bolshoi Ballet scandals would be confined to a single acid attack, well, you'd be wrong. A soloist who last danced with the company a decade ago alleged this weekend that the Bolshoi was "a giant brothel" during her time there, the BBC reports. Anastasia Volochkova, who was fired in 2003 over her weight, told a Russian talk show on Sunday that female dancers were expected, per the general director, to wine, dine, and then bed the theater's wealthy patrons and members of its board. And Bloomberg reports that Volochkova says it's since gotten "a lot worse."

"The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex," Volochkova claimed. "When the girls asked: 'What happens if we refuse?', they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theater," she said. The theater's general director has dismissed her claims as "dirt and ravings," but they come at a troubled time for the 237-year-old company. Some 300 Bolshoi performers have sent a letter to President Putin stating they don't believe dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko was the mastermind behind January's acid attack and may have been pressured into confessing, reports the AP.

In this file photo taken on Monday, Dec. 1, 2003, Russian Ballerina Anastasia Volochkova speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Bolshoi ballet dancers perform in the ballet Paquita in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Bolshoi Theater, Damir Yusupov)
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