The Bolshoi Ballet, an internationally renowned classical ballet company based in Moscow, Russia, has recently been accused of forcing female dancers to sleep with wealthy patrons by former Bolshoi soloist Anastasia Volochkova.
Volochkova was fired from Bolshoi in 2003 for being too “bulky” and made the accusations against the company first on a television talk show on Sunday, and then in a radio interview that followed.
“It mainly happened with the corps du ballet but also with the soloists,” Volochkova said to the news radio station. “Unfortunately the Bolshoi general director has turned the Bolshoi theatre into a giant brothel.”
When asked to comment about the allegations, Bolshoi’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, said, “I don’t comment on dirt and ravings.”
Volochkova went into greater detail about the incidents on other outlets.
“Ten years ago when I was dancing at the theatre, I repeatedly received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs,” she continued. “The girls were forced to go along to grand dinner and given advance warning that afterwards they would be expected to go to bed and have sex. When the girls asked ‘what happens if we refuse?’, they were told that they would not go on tour or even perform at the Bolshoi theatre.”
Volochkova was fired in 2003 when she was said to be too tall and heavy for male partners to lift. BBC news reports that she eventually won a legal claim against the ballet theatre, although she was never able to recover her career.