Ballet star admits acid attack on Bolshoi boss

A star Russian ballet dancer at the famed Bolshoi Theatre has confessed to an acid attack on the outfit’s ballet chief, police said today.

Pavel Dmitrichenko and two accomplices confessed to masterminding and carrying out the attack, Moscow police said in a statement.

Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet, suffered severe burns to his eyes and face on January 17 when a masked attacker threw a jar of sulphuric acid in his face as he returned home late at night. The 42-year-old former dancer is still undergoing treatment in Germany.

Dmitrichenko, who joined the Bolshoi in 2002, has danced several major parts in recent years, including Ivan the Terrible in the ballet of the same name and the villain in Swan Lake.

Bolshoi Theatre spokeswoman Katerina Novikova said the management was not aware of a conflict between him and Mr Filin, but Channel One state television reported that Dmitrichenko’s girlfriend, also a Bolshoi soloist, was known to have been at odds with the director.

The Bolshoi Theatre is one of Russia’s premier cultural institutions, best known for Swan Lake and other grand classical ballets that grace its stage. But backstage, the ballet company has been troubled by intrigue and in-fighting which have led to the departure of several artistic directors over the past few years.

Mr Filin’s colleagues have said the attack could be in retaliation for his selection of certain dancers over others for prized roles. He told state television before he checked out of a Moscow hospital that he knew who ordered the attack but would not name the person.

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