A former Bolshoi ballet dancer has called the acclaimed company a “giant brothel”.
Adding to the theatre’s recent bad press, Anastasia Volochkova claimed that female dancers were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons in an interview on a television talk show in Russia.
She said: “It mainly happened with the corps du ballet but also with the soloists. Ten years ago, when I was dancing at the theatre, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs.
“The girls were forced to go along to grand dinners and given advance warnings that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex,” she claimed.
Volochkova was asked to leave the ballet company in 2003 for being too heavy. Since her departure she has dabbled in TV talent and talk shows, and her private life often appears in the pages of Russia’s gossip magazines.
The allegations were put to Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov during a news conference at the theatre on Tuesday. He responded: “I don’t comment on dirt and ravings.”
The claims come after a series of controversial events surrounding the world famous Russian theatre, which has become well known for bitter internal rivalries.
One of its top dancers, Pavel Dmitrichenko, is facing trial for ordering an acid attack on the ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin in January.
Dmitrichenko told the court he admitted to ordering an attack on Filin but had only expected the ballet director to be “roughed up”.