(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.
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Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tim Hume and Vasco Cotovio, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN