Bolshoi Ballet a 'giant brothel,' says former dancer


Dancers Dmitri Gudanov and Svetlana Lunkina from the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company perform during a rehearsal of the 'Swan Lake' in London.


Carl de Souza

A former Bolshoi Ballet soloist has called the company a "giant brothel," saying female dancers were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons.

Anastasia Volochkova, who was fired from the Bolshoi in 2003 for being considered too fat and tall to be lifted by male dancers, is known for being outspoken and has participated in some TV talent and talk shows, reported BBC News

"It mainly happened with the corps du ballet but also with the soloists," she said during a TV interview in Russia on Sunday.

"Ten years ago, when I was dancing at the theater, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs.

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"The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex," Volochkova alleged.

"When the girls asked: 'What happens if we refuse?,' they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theater. Can you imagine?"

When asked to respond to the allegations at a news conference at the ballet's theater, general director Anatoly Iksanov said: "I don't comment on dirt and ravings," according to Agence France-Presse.

Volochkova's allegation is not the first scandal to hit the Bolshoi in recent months. The Telegraph reported that top male dancer at the ballet company Pavel Dmitrichenko has been charged in the acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin, which damaged his eyesight and severely burned his face.