I admit that I’m shaky on the history of the Dmitrichenko/Vorontsova/Tsiskaridze/Filin thing. I’m even more confused after reading the above-captioned article, in which Dmitrichenko more or less denies anything happened.
At the time of the acid-throwing incident, I was having trouble reconciling the repeated statement that Vorontsova was Dmitrichenko’s common-law wife. She was, after all, just 21. In the U.S., in states where common-law marriage is recognized. it takes seven years to establish a such a union. Of course, this is Russia we’re dealing with here, but…
Again I think of Joy Womack, and the endless controversy surrounding her time at the Bolshoi. Will we ever get to the bottom of it? Probably not. (However, I was struck by the similarity of Womack’s situation to that of another Bolshoi outcast — Vorontsova.) Again, this is Russia we’re dealing with here. Lies are huge, and become the truth. The problem is that there are so many of them that they seem to cancel each other. In the end, we are left with nothing.
At the time of the incident, I remember being shocked by the callousness of Tsiskaridze claiming that Filin either wasn’t really injured, or was faking the extent of his injuries — I forget which. But knowing the murky depths of Russian interpersonal politics…well, it’s impossible to arrive at a plausible truth that works for all the players. Even now, there’s an oft-repeated rumor that Filin has been seen driving a car. And he continues to work in ballet. That requires sight. Yet no less than the uber-honest Obraztsova says that yes, Filin’s injuries were and are real.
All that said — that is, the complete truth will never be known — I will focus on Dmitrichenko’s dancing (about which I know little except for a few videos), and his career.
There’s no doubt, based on the little I’ve seen, that Dmitrichenko has star power. He seems to be the ultimate drama king, riveting to watch. He definitely could have a career as a character dancer that would last decades.
The question of his career is the huge one, and it all hinges on whether or not the story of the acid attack and his involvement in it is even a bit true — and the extent of Filin’s support base within the Russian ballet community.
Dmitrichenko wants to get back into the Bolshoi. Filin is still working there (with students now, apparently, and not directly with the main company). Doubtless there are dozens or even hundreds at the Bolshoi who can’t stand each other, yet continue to work together…but attacking someone physically is another matter entirely. The current director, or whatever his title is, says that Dmitrichenko can audition just like anyone else. The question after that is how much influence Filin still has, and how much danger he would actually be in. (My guess is not much — even if Dmitricheko got back into the Bolshoi, why would he repeat such an attack on someone who no longer wields much power within the main company — but what do I know?)
Could Dmitrichenko go elsewhere? Who knows. Womack did, and so did Vorontsova, (and both have done well in their new environments), which proves that there are those in the Russian ballet world who are willing to thumb their noses at the Bolshoi. Of course, in Russia there are lots of other companies, and no doubt lots of strong souls like the director of Womack’s company. But there are not many companies where Dmitrichenko’s considerable star power wouldn’t be wasted on a vastly reduced audience.
This is a situation I’ll be watching with interest. Its outcome will give me a glimpse into the murky depths (and that’s what they are) of Russia’s ballet soul.