The Russian Ministry of Culture announced this morning that there would be an external inspection of the organisation of St Petersburg's Vaganova Ballet Academy. It will examine the economic and educational structure for irregularities after “”the emergence of numerous items in the media, which refer to procedural violations at the Vaganova Academy”. Though, bizarrely, the Ministry underlined the fact that it was a “routine” inspection, which was normal when there was a change of leadership. The inspection will be completed within a month.
Nikolay Tsiskaridze, who went from being the new school principal two weeks ago, to the acting principal, will be one of five candidates for the position. The staff of the Vaganova Academy have asked for transparency in the election process.
Meanwhile in a courtroom in Moscow, Dilyara Timergazina, Sergei Filin's assistant, recounted yesterday that Pavel Dmitrichenko – the Bolshoi dancer accused of instigating the acid attack on Filin – had disagreements with him about his style of management:
[Dmitrichenko] said, “Is this a kingdom now? Are you our king?”
and continually tried to undermine Filin's authority. Dmitrichenko disagreed with his plan to dock the pay of the members of the corps de ballet who did not attend dance class, and
…demanded principal roles, and wanted his girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, to be given Odette-Odile in Swan Lake.
Demands which Filin refused.
Timergazina also dismissed Dmitrichenko's statement that Filin was having an affair with the ballerina Olga Smirnova who, incidentally, had gone to the theatre with Filin on the evening of the attack. Smirnova is also Timergazina's daughter-in-law.
Meanwhile, Batyr Annadurdiyev, a member of the Bolshoi corps, who spent the evening of the attack on Filin with Dmitrichenko, said that he had been bullied by the police to sign false testimonies:
The police told me that boys like me are in high demand among prisoners.
He has now retracted some of his signed declarations.
Pasha [Dmitrichenko] was a fighter for justice. He is the only one of the company who was not afraid to speak his mind,
If this was a film script, it would dismissed as ridiculous.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.