Russia’s famous ballet is among the casualties of the war
Mr Hallberg said Ms Smirnova was “very brave” in leaving the Bolshoi as she is not just leaving a company but an institution that is “in her DNA”.
Ms. Smirnova is not the only high-profile artist to leave Russia. On the day the war broke out, Alexei Ratmansky, the ballet’s outstanding choreographer and former artistic director of the Bolshoi, was in Moscow rehearsing a new work. He immediately got a flight home to New York, where he is artist-in-residence at the American Ballet Theater, and said he probably won’t return to Russia “if Putin is still president.”
Laurent Hilaire, the French director of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Ballet in Moscow, resigned a few days after the start of the war. And a lot of dancers, mostly foreign ones, left too, including Xander communitywho is British; Jacobo Tissi, who is Italian; and David Motta Soares and Victor Caixeta, who are Brazilian. Mr Caixeta, an aspiring soloist, is now in Amsterdam working with Ms Smirnova. The couple is planned her debut in “Raymonda”, a classic of Russian ballet, on Saturday.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, many European governments have ordered their cultural institutions, including dance companies, not to collaborate with Russian state bodies like the Mariinsky or the Bolshoi. The Netherlands National Ballet has canceled a visit from Mariinsky, withdrawn from a ballet festival in St. Petersburg and stopped collaborating with the National Ballet Moscow International Ballet Competitionscheduled to take place in the Bolshoi in June.
Works by several prominent Western choreographers could disappear from Russian stages as those who control the rights to their ballets stop collaborating with Russian companies. Nicole Cornell, director of the George Balanchine Trust, which holds the rights to the choreographer’s work, said in an email that she had suspended “all future licensing talks” with Russian companies. And Jean-Christophe Maillot, a French choreographer and director of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, said in an email he had asked the Bolshoi to suspend performances of his Taming of the Shrew but that its director general, Vladimir Urin, had rejected. “These conditions obviously make it difficult to resume cooperation with the Bolshoi,” Mr. Maillot said.