The Bolshoi’s administration has stepped into the unfolding scandal over ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze's sacking from Russia’s most famous theater.
Anatoly Iksanov, the Bolshoi’s director general, refuted Tsiskaridze’s claim that his dismissal from the position as a ballet instructor was nothing but revenge for his slamming of the results of the highly-publicized six-year renovation of the theater.
“No one is going to fire Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who was, and is, to remain Bolshoi Theatre’s soloist,” Iksanov told the news agency Itar-Tass. The discharge of Tsiskaridze’s pedagogical part-time contract was in order to give a full-time job to an instructor, he added. Regina Nikiforova, 76, who was a Bolshoi ballerina during her time, is to take the position
The scandal broke out when the celebrity dancer claimed the administration of the theater was trying to get rid of him after he shared several outspoken judgments about the theater with journalists.
“The thing is that Bolshoi Theatre director general Mr. Iksanov has been for a long time considered the Bolshoi Theater his own home territory,” Tsiskaridze told Interfax at the beginning of January, shortly after he received a notice about the annulment of his contract.
The famed ballet dancer said that his sacking was also to prevent any public criticism from his other colleagues, “who could possibly feel like criticizing the Bolshoi’s administration in the future.”
Tsiskaridze threatened to take a legal action against the theater If the decision was not revoked, he told Moskovsky Komsomolets. The dancer said terminating his contract was illegal according to the Russian Labor Code as he wasn’t offered to fill the full-time position.
Tsiskaridze was sacked together with Yan Godovsky, another Bolshoi ballet soloist who was a part-time instructor, and the official line is that the theater needs a full-time instructor.
“This season we have to move a whole collection of large-scale shows to the main stage, including ‘Le Corsaire,’ ‘Swan Lake,’ ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Giselle’ and ‘The Pharaoh's Daughter,’” Iksanov said.
Tsiskaridze’s instructor contract is to be discharged on Jan. 17, Iksanov said, and a notification was sent to the dancer on Dec. 15.