Russian ballet star confesses he agreed to attack

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Dmitrichenko’s long, ghostlike face with heavy eyelids helped him make a lasting impression playing the villain in “Swan Lake” and the title role in “Ivan the Terrible.”

He said in an interview published a few years ago that even though he came from a family of dancers he never dreamed of becoming a Bolshoi star and thought of becoming a hockey player when he was a boy.

Some reports have claimed that the attack could have been triggered by Filin’s refusal to cast Dmitrichenko’s girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, in the main role in “Swan Lake.” Filin was the patron and coach of a teenaged Vorontsova, but they reportedly later had a falling-out. The daily Izvestia claimed that Filin told Vorontsova in December she was not slender enough for the “Swan Lake” part, angering Dmitrichenko.

Bolotin and other company members were skeptical of this theory, saying that bad blood between Filin and Vorontsova was exaggerated and the ballerina has continued to take prominent parts, including one in “The Nutckracker,” one of the theater’s most revered ballets. “There was no reason for her to feel hurt,” Bolotin said.Filin’s lawyer and wife both cautioned against focusing too much attention on the ballerina and said the circle of people involved in the attack was wider than the three men detained this week.

The Bolshoi’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, has accused veteran principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze of inspiring the attack. Tsiskaridze, a long-time fierce critic of Iksanov who is reported to aspire to his job, has denied the allegation. Tsiskaridze hasn’t commented on Dmitrichenko’s arrest.

Dmitrichenko told reporters in the courtroom that the Bolshoi might have floated the theory of him taking revenge for Vorontsova in order to get rid of Tsiskaridze, who coaches the ballerina.

Anastasia Volochkova, a former Bolshoi ballerina who was fired by Iksanov, urged the government to reshuffle the management. “I don’t know what else should happen in the Bolshoi for the country’s leadership to intervene. A murder, a shooting , a war or what?” she said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Dmitrichenko and Tsiskaridze are both followers of legendary choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, who led the Bolshoi dance company for three decades. He was forced out in 1995, but remains on the Bolshoi staff.

A string of successive artistic directors tried to bring new energy and a more modern repertoire to the Moscow theater, only to face opposition from dancers and teachers who remained devoted to Grigorovich and his ballets.

Filin, who took up his post in March 2011, was seen as capable of bridging the gap. He was a veteran of the Bolshoi, where he danced from 1989 until 2007, and later served as artistic director of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich Theater, Moscow’s second ballet company.

Bolotin said that Filin was popular with Bolshoi dancers even though he couldn’t please all of them. “Some people were unhappy, but it’s only natural. Artists are emotional, and all of them want to dance, but it’s impossible to engage all 250 of them at once,” he said, adding that the troupe has been in deep shock over the attack.

“It has stained Bolshoi and cast shame on it,” said Roman Denisov, a Bolshoi violinist.

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AP writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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