Love it or hate it, ballet is a serious business. There's a long history of Bolshoi Ballet rivals interrupting and corrupting each others' shows through a variety of means. The latest Bolshoi Balet controversy is perhaps as horrific in the long history of personal and physical attacks made at the ballet.
Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, was the victim of an acid attack. The attack caused third-degree burns and severe damage to his eyes. Video footage has been released from the hospital that graphicly depicts Mr. Filin's head completely covered by bandages. The bandages have had openings for his eyes and mouth cut out. His eyelids are profusely swollen.
Reports indicate that he police are exploring theories that involve money and other disputes that may have led to such a viscious attack. There's also a strong possibility that Sergei Filin's success played into the attack. In the past few weeks, Filin had been the victim of several attacks. His car was scratched, his tires were slashed, his cellphone was hacked and some of his private messages were published.
The Bolshoi's director has been outspoken about the attack. He believes that Filin was attacked because of his brilliant work in ballet. "He is a man of principle and never compromised," Iksanov said on Channel One state television according to the Huffinton Post. "If he believed that this or that dancer was not ready or was unable to perform this or that part, he would turn them down."
"Nothing like that happened in our times," Gedeminas Taranda, a principal dancer at the Bolshoi during the Soviet era, said on a talk show on Channel One according to the New York Times. "We were ready to go out on the street, toe to toe, but it was impossible to think about anything like this. We could have gone and fought it out like real Russian people, although it was still ballet, and all that."
The highly political nature of classical ballet was most recenty portrayed in the Hollywood film the "Black Swan" directed by Darren Aronofsky. In the story, two dancers -- played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis -- competed vehemently for a chance to play the Black Swan in one of the theater productions. As the two fight for the heart of the artistic director, the pathological nature of classical ballet comes to the forefront.
To see Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin after the acid attack, click the video below: