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The Bolshoi’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, has accused veteran principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze of inspiring the attack. Tsiskaridze, a long-time critic of the theater’s management, has denied the allegation.

Dmitrichenko’s girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, was coached by Tsiskaridze.

When contacted Wednesday by the AP, Tsiskaridze texted back: “I have nothing to say…”

Izvestia, a Kremlin-friendly daily, on Wednesday quoted ballet teacher Marina Kondratyeva as saying that Vorontsova had not been given leading parts lately but for a good reason: “How could Filin `elbow her out’? Tsiskaridze is mentoring and coaching her _ but she was just plain fat.”

Filin was instrumental in bringing Vorontsova to Moscow to study and had hoped she would stay to dance for him at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater, Moscow’s second ballet company, where he was artistic director before taking up the Bolshoi post in March 2011. Instead she joined the Bolshoi.

Russian newspapers quoted unidentified ballet dancers as saying that Dmitrichenko had a fiery temper.

In a rare public outburst, Dmitrichenko posted an angry comment in November responding to a newspaper review that said his “artistic scope is limited not to mention his physical potential.”

On the website of the Kommersant daily, Dmitrichenko accused the ballet critic of bias, calling the writer “a failed performer.” Kommersant later took down his comment. One of the screenshots of the detailed remarks read: “I’m happy, I’m accomplished, I work with the genius of a teacher, I work with a genius, Grigorovich himself!!! What about you??”

Yuri Grigorovich led the dance company for three decades, resigning in 1995, after losing a protracted dispute with theater management, but he remains on the Bolshoi staff. Dancers and teachers still loyal to Grigorovich have resisted efforts by a series of successive artistic directors to bring a more modern repertoire to the theater, still celebrated mainly for the classical ballets that grace its stage. Filin, who danced for the Bolshoi from 1989 until 2007, was seen as capable of bridging that gap.

Both of Dmitrichenko’s main starring roles were in ballets choreographed by Grigorovich. He was next due to appear at the Bolshoi on March 16, in “Sleeping Beauty, dancing the part of Bluebird.


AP writers Lynn Berry, Varya Kudryavtseva, Sasha Merkushev and Yelena Yegorova contributed to this report.