He didn’t mean for the acid to be thrown on him. You believe him right? It was just a simple misunderstanding. He just wanted him to be roughed up a bit and SOMEHOW acid got involved.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a Russian ballet dancer, swears his innocence when it comes to his director being permanently damaged by the acid that was thrown at him. Dmitrichenko has, or rather had, a flourishing career, playing the most famous Bolshoi ballet villains. He was disgruntled by his director, not because he was affecting his own career, but because his girlfriend was supposedly being affected. Both Dmitrichenko and his girlfriend, Vorontsova, believe that FIlin has purposely kept her from lead roles (in a company of 220 people with many seasoned dancers, unlike the very young Vorontsova).

Dmitrichenko has admitted to meeting Yuri Zarutsky, the man who threw the acid, in a cafe in Moscow to discuss how to beat up Filin, the director. He paid him 50,000 rubles and was said to be shocked when finding out that car battery acid got involved.

Prior to this incident, Dmitrichenko tried to hack emails to expose the alleged corruption of the Bolshoi management system. He also made silent phone calls, slashed tires on cars, and falsified a facebook page, but they had been written off simply as a result of his hot-headedness. None of his fellow dancers believed he could be capable of such a vicious and evil act. Dmitrichenko plead not guilty, but was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on probation in 2016.

Despite acid being thrown on someone, this is only the small problem in the larger picture within Russia. There seems to be an increasing amount of problems within the Bolshoi Dance company, a vicious cycle in which directors and dancers keep fighting each other on. The dancers have accused Filin and the management of creating some sort of kickback operation, in which they keep control of their dancers. On the flipside, the dancers have been arranging gigs with other companies without giving notice to Filin, their director. This made it increasingly difficult for Filin to manage his company and keep the prestigious brand of the company at a high level.

Russia prides itself on its prestigious ballet companies, but all of them seem to be falling apart. The director of Mikhailovsky, one of Russia’s other ballet companies, is a known bankrupt and is currently detained while the company’s finances are being investigated. With the many problems the Russian ballet companies have, they may cease to exist altogether.

Ballet has been a long standing tradition within Russia, and to become a dancer for one of their companies is an honor. Ballerinas simply dance for the art and love for it, there is no money in becoming one. Only the most elite, sought after prima ballerinas make a decent living. Everyone else makes a little more than minimum wage here in San Diego. And then once these dancers start to reach their mid-thirties they become essentially useless to the companies they work for. Their career and pay is small, so it must be simply for the love of the dance that these people continue to be a part of it.

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Maddie Ward

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