A Russian ballet star pulls out of the Bolshoi in protest of the Ukraine war
Ms Smirnova published a lengthy post this month on Telegram, the popular messaging app in Russia, in which she said she opposed the war “with all the fibers of my soul”. One of her grandfathers was Ukrainian, she said, but insisted this was not the only reason for her protest. “I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia,” she said, “we may not be at the center of a military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe.”
A Bolshoi spokeswoman, which still lists Ms Smirnova among its dancers on its website, said she had no comment on her departure, except to confirm that it was a personal decision.
Ms Smirnova is one of several dancers who have left Russia’s other major company, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballet, at least temporarily, since the invasion of Ukraine began. But most of those other dancers, including Italian Jacopo Tisci, Brazilian David Motta Soares and British dancer Xander Parrish, are not Russian.
In an interview from Tallinn in Estonia last week, Mr Parish, who dances for Mariinsky, told British newspaper The Sunday Times that he intended to focus on international guest appearances for the next few months. “It’s hard to imagine that I can’t go back, but I just need to stay positive and look for opportunities,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Dutch National Ballet said Victor Caxeta, Brazilian soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet, had also joined the company. “The current circumstances mean I had to make the difficult decision to leave Russia – a place I have called home for almost five years,” Mr Caxetta said in a statement.
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