The Bolshoi Ballet Is a Terrifying Place to Work


The acid attack on Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director, has shocked the world of dance, but maybe it shouldn't have. As The New York Times reported on Saturday, the ballet has a reputation for "poisonous infighting" and vicious attacks, from an alarm clock hidden in the audience to distract a dancer to "whispers of ... broken glass nestled in the tip of a toeshoe." Nor was this the first reprisal against Filin.

"In recent weeks Mr. Filin’s tires had been slashed, his car scratched, his two cellphones disabled, his personal e-mail account hacked and private correspondence published, according to Bolshoi officials," The Times reported. On the day of the acid attack, Filin confided in the ballet's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, that he feared for his children's safety. "'I told him, 'Sergei, I've already been on the front line for the last two years, it is part of our profession, the profession of the leadership, so it's normal.' Then Mr. Iksanov paused. 'No, no, it's not normal,' he said." And we thought we had some psychos in our line of work.