Bolshoi Ballerinas Pimped Out, Ex-Dancer Claims

(Gennady Avramenko/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW - A former top ballerina with the world famous Bolshoi theater has accused the dance company of pimping out its female dancers to wealthy donors.

Former ballet star Anastasia Volochkova made the claim during an appearance on a Russian talk show on Sunday.

She said ballerinas were pressured by the theater's management to attend parties thrown by its biggest financial backers, often with the expectation that they would then follow the rich businessmen to bed. She said resistance could lead to professional repercussions within the theater.

Volochkova was dismissed by the Bolshoi in 2003, reportedly because they thought she was too fat.

According to RIA Novosti, the Bolshoi said it has not decided yet how to respond to Volochkova's allegations.

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."

The claims are just the latest black eye for the Bolshoi, which is still reeling from a vicious acid attack on its artistic director in January.

Sergei Filin was doused with sulfuric acid as he walked to his apartment building on Jan. 17. Earlier this month, police arrested Pavel Dmitrichenko, a top Bolshoi dancer, and two other men for allegedly ordering and carrying out the attack.

The attack sent shockwaves through the Bolshoi, with fingers being pointed at other top dancers who some believe may have inspired the attack. Last week, however, several hundred Bolshoi employees signed a letter siding with Dmitrichenko, suggesting he confessed to masterminding the attack only after being pressured to do so.

Filin suffered severe burns on his face and is currently recovering in a German hospital where doctors are scrambling to save his eyesight.

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