MOSCOW: One of the Bolshoi Ballet’s best known dancers has fled Russia for Canada after receiving threats over a business dispute involving her husband, a Russian newspaper reported Tuesday.
Svetlana Lunkina told the Izvestia daily she’d taken leave from the theater until the end of the season over troubles stemming from a film that her husband was involved with.
Izvestia said she had already been outside Russia for six months and there is no clear link between her problems and the acid attack this month on the ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin.
Nevertheless, the flight of such a high-profile figure from Russia underlines the tense atmosphere at the Bolshoi after the attack, which management has blamed on internal conflicts.
“I think we need to react to these threats,” Lunkina told Izvestia without making clear the nature of the threats. “These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work.”
Lunkina, who has danced with the Bolshoi since 1997, is one of the company’s most experienced stars and was due to appear in a new work by British choreographer Wayne McGregor.
Lunkina said the threats were linked to a project her husband, the producer Vladislav Moskalyev, had been working on to make a film about the great Russian imperial ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya.
Moskalyev fell out with his business partner and was thrown out of the project. He is now being sued for $3.7 million by his former partner.
Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova confirmed to Izvestia that Lunkina had requested leave for the season but she said it was unclear how the company could help Lunkina given that the dispute was linked to her husband’s work.
Filin is currently in a Moscow hospital and has undergone several operations to save his eyesight and repair the disfigurement he suffered after a masked attacker threw acid into his face and eyes on Jan. 17.