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© Ismene Brown 1992-2019


Tsiskaridze: Save Russia from the half-trained West

28 DEC 14      The West dares to teach us Russians what’s needed? It’s them who need to learn from us.” Yesterday Nikolai Tsiskaridze gave a characteristically tub-thumping     READ ON>

Polunin explains his indecision

24 DEC 14     Sergei Polunin has given an interview to Izvestia, the Moscow daily, this week where he rows back on previous headlines that he was moving to Hollywood, and  READ ON>

Vaganova elects Tsiskaridze 227 - 17

29 NOV 14      Nikolai Tsiskaridze, as expected, has been formally confirmed as Rector of the Vaganova Academy in unopposed election today, winning 227-17 in the poll of 244    READ ON>

Vasiliev on Ashton, freelancing, and a new love

27 OCT 14      Ivan Vasiliev has given a long interview in Moscow rejecting the idea that his leaving the Bolshoi was anything to get upset about, and suggesting that in future the freelance life will become increasingly standard   READ ON>

New labour deal calms Bolshoi, but tough on outsiders

14 JUL 14     Wreathed in smiles, but admitting to agonies of impatience at the six-month-long negotiations, the Bolshoi Theatre chief Vladimir Urin yesterday announced the launch READ ON>

Mrs Urin answers her critics

10 OCT 14      The wife of Bolshoi general director Vladimir Urin has addressed critics of her appointment to work alongside her husband in a detailed interview about her job running Bolshoi strategic planning  READ ON>

Bolshoi woos Ratmansky and Osipova

11 SEP 14     The Bolshoi is reported to be in active talks with Alexei Ratmansky about a return to create a new ballet for Moscow. The move would be a significant act of reconciliation   READ ON>

Summing up a crime-free ballet year

13 AUG 14     No acid attacks, plenty of success - can it be the Bolshoi? So, ironically, quips Moskovsky Komsomolets’ ballet critic Pavel Yashenkov surveying the past season. He notes that various stars have given theatres headaches by sudden departures READ ON>

First Russian Manon loses in translation, not least its star

10 JUL 14     Sergei Polunin, the famous disappearing-act of ballet, disappeared yet again last week from his latest company just before starring in the first Russian performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon. Pity Moscow’s Stanislavsky   READ ON>

The Royal Ballet's classy prostitute

25 JUN 14     Moscow’s senior critic Tatyana Kuznetsova adds her  high praise for the Royal Ballet’s Manon to the ovations that greeted the company’s tour last week. Not unexpectedly, the immense draw of former Bolshoi star Natalia Osipova   READ ON>

Rave for McRae, Lamb and the English ballet

25 JUN 14     Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb are garlanded in superlatives by this reviewer from the major newspaper Izvestia, whose coverage of the Royal Ballet Moscow tour last week     READ ON>

Manon is keenly awaited in Russia

24 JUN 14    Another preview of Manon by a Russian TV channel makes clear once again of the anticipation of the Moscow public for the Royal Ballet’s performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s drama ballet, never before seen at the Bolshoi.     READ ON>

Bolshoi labour contract ready at last

4 JUN 14     The long-heralded collective agreement at the Bolshoi, intended to resolve all the disputes that led to its year of horrors last year, is said to be almost ready to sign. READ ON>

Arts fight threat of state censorship

29 MAY 14     Russia’s plans to make it government policy to outlaw swearing, offence to the religious, and any justification of fascism from all state spheres have today READ ON>

Filin speaks of life 'before' and 'after'

12 MAY 14      Sergei Filin has described how his family’s life was ripped in half by the acid attack that he suffered. Dividing life into ‘before’ and ‘after’, he has spoken about how he lives with a ‘continuous round of hopes and disappointments’. READ ON>

Bolshoi fires Dmitrichenko as he loses appeal

6 MAR 14     The Bolshoi dancer convicted of organizing the acid attack on his boss today lost his appeal, whereupon the Bolshoi Theatre finally dismissed him. At a bitter hearing in Moscow, Pavel Dmitrichenko READ ON>

Guilty, guilty, guilty, says judge

3 DEC 13    The dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and his two co-defendants have been convicted of the acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin. Judge Elena Maximova announced the guilty verdicts at 12 noon READ ON>

Trial day 12: Final statements before verdict

30 NOV 13    The Bolshoi acid trial is almost done: yesterday [Friday] all sides gave their final depositions and arguments, and at the end of it Judge Elena Maximova said she would give her verdict next Tuesday   READ ON>

Trial day 11: hitman Zarutsky testifies (it's grisly)

28 NOV 13    Finally the grisly evidence of Filin’s attacker has been properly reported in the Russian press. Most reporters focused yesterday on the personality/ Tsiskaridze circus while ignoring the grotesque deposition of Yuri Zarutsky   READ ON>

Trial day 11: stars defend Filin, attack Tsiskaridze

28 NOV 13    Nikolai Tsiskaridze’s character attack on Filin on Monday yesterday generated a furious response by Bolshoi dancers and coaches, who went to court yesterday   READ ON>  

Trial day 10: Dmitrichenko questioned, Tsiskaridze, Vorontsova testify

25  NOV 13    Today was the biggest day of the Bolshoi acid trial since the victim himself testified. His claimed attacker,  Dmitrichenko, was cross-examined, while what the press was interested in was the appearance of Nikolai Tsiskaridze   READ ON>  

Trial day 10: Pronin: Grigorovich 'protected' Dmitrichenko

27  NOV 13    While Monday’s court session was dominated by the Tsiskaridze circus, the appearance of former company manager Ruslan Pronin was barely noted. But he gave a penetrating inside view into the reason for the hostility READ ON>  

Bolshoi stars demand to rebut Filin accusations

26 NOV 13    Some of the Bolshoi’s most stellar names are said to be intending to ask the judge to let them challenge scathing personal comments made about artistic director Sergei Filin by Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Angelina Vorontsova and   READ ON>

Tsiskaridze: 'My dismissal is a disgrace'

11 JUN 13    The French paper Le Figaro has copped an exclusive interview today with sacked Bolshoi star Nikolai Tsiskaridze in which he insists that the Filin attack was a “theatrical spectacle”, that Filin is not injured, READ ON>

Bolshoi fires star Nikolai Tsiskaridze

8 JUN 13        So it has happened. The outspoken Bolshoi Ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze, by his own account the world’s greatest dancer, is being dismissed by the Bolshoi Theatre. READ ON>

Ballerina Pavlenko speaks out for poor corps

28 APR 13      A key issue claimed to be at the heart of the enmity between stricken Bolshoi Ballet director Sergei Filin and dancers, including his alleged attacker Pavel Dmitrichenko and his rival Nikolai Tsiskaridze, is a system of payments and favouritism READ ON>



Blogs and translations of interesting press reports (mostly from Russian or French) about ballet, dance and classical music. All translations are my own, with sources supplied. Do comment at @ismeneb on Twitter. I file my work as a dance and music critic on the indexed pages in the menubar.  If you want to cite any material, please credit me for my work & attach a link to Please email if something doesn't work.