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UPDATED: Bolshoi drops McGregor Rite of Spring after acid attack

Posted on February 5, 2013

mcgregorwayne by rob moore

mcgregorwayne-by-rob-mooreFollowing the recent acid attack on Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Wayne McGregor’s new production of The Rite of Spring has been dropped.

UPDATE: Instead, the company will dance a new version by Tatiana Baganova, director of the Provincial Dances Theatre in Yekaterinberg.


The production was due to have its premiere on March 28 as part of the centenary celebrations for Stravinsky’s score. In a statement, McGregor (pictured) and the Bolshoi said that they had “come to a joint decision to postpone the production” while Filin is in hospital.


On February 4, the theatre announced that it would go ahead with a new production of the ballet by Tatiana Baganova. It will be the first time she has worked with the Bolshoi.


McGregor’s production was to have been screened live in cinemas worldwide on March 31. In the UK, Picturehouse Cinemas have announced that they will show a recording of the Bolshoi in Esmeralda instead. The Bolshoi’s festival celebrating The Rite of Spring, including performances of the Pina Bausch and Maurice Béjart productions by the choreographers’ own companies, is still expected to go ahead.


Filin left hospital on February 4, and has flown to Germany for further treatment. When he spoke to reporters, Filin’s face appeared not to be seriously disfigured. He praised the doctors at Moscow’s Hospital No 36, adding, “I’m not worried about my face, my hair or my appearance, even if I look like Frankenstein. All my internal energy is focused on the healing and the return of my vision.” His wife, Maria Prorvich, has said that he can read the first four lines on an optician’s chart. Asked for his opinion on who had attacked him, Filin said: “My heart knows who did it, and in my soul I have an answer to that question.”


Since the attack, ballerina Svetlana Lunkina has said that she moved to Canada from the Bolshoi after receiving threats in Moscow. She is officially on leave from the Bolshoi “for family reasons” until the end of the summer. Lunkina is reluctant to return to Russia because of a feud between her husband and a former business partner. Following the feud, Lunkina received threats and had her Facebook and email accounts hacked. She said that her decision to leave had nothing to do with the attack on Filin. She added that he had supported her request for special leave, urging her to stay in Canada.


During Filin’s absence, The Bolshoi has appointed former ballerina Galina Stepanenko as acting director.


Picture: Wayne McGregor. Photograph: Rob Moore

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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