One of the Bolshoi ballet's leading ballerinas, Russia’s Svetlana Lunkina, has reportedly fled to Canada after receiving multiple threats over a business dispute involving her husband’s work on a film about an imperial Russian ballerina.
Svetlana Lunkina told Russia’s Izvestia daily she had taken leave from the landmark theater until the end of the season. The announcement comes less than two weeks after the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater Sergey Filin suffered third degree burns in an acid attack near his Moscow home.
Lunkina, who has danced with the Bolshoi since 1997, said she and her husband, producer Vladislav Moskalyev, had allegedly received the threats from representatives of her husband’s business partner, with whom he worked on a film about the legendary Russian ballerina, Matilda Kshesinskaya. According to AFP, Moskalyev is being sued for $3.7 million by his former partner and thrown off the project.
"I think we need to react to these threats. These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work," the ballerina told Izvestia.
Lunkina added that according to the people threatening her, the letters discrediting her have been “sent to all theaters”.
Although there seems to be no link between Lunkina’s situation and the attack on the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director, her flight could be regarded as more evidence of the tense atmosphere at the Bolshoi theater.
The ballerina told Izvestia she was seeking help from the Bolshoi, but in vain.
“I wrote a letter to my artistic director Sergey Filin. I also sent him a request to extend my leave. I’ve asked him for support – I didn’t know who to turn to. He didn’t reply, while at the theater they told me, ‘We receive a lot of letters, bad and good. It doesn’t mean you should respond to each of them’”, Lunkina told Izvestia.
The ballerina told the newspaper she was “supposed to be doing a lot of interesting work, including several premieres." Lunkina was due to appear in a new work by the renowned British choreographer Wayne McGregor. She said she “was looking forward to it for many years”.
She said she was shocked when she learnt about the attack on Filin. According to the ballerina, his attacker "may not be someone who works at the Bolshoi theatre but someone linked to the theatre and ballet."
Filin has undergone several surgeries to save his eyesight. Next week he is due to be transferred for further treatment to a hospital in the German city of Aachen.