Star dancer Sergei Filin becomes new Bolshoi chief | Buzz reviews, news & interviews
Star dancer Sergei Filin becomes new Bolshoi chief
Sergei Filin, one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s recent male stars, has been appointed as the new artistic director of the massive Russian company on a five-year contract. The appointment brings to a swift culmination a terrible week for the Bolshoi, where their second-in-command resigned after compromising sexual images were released onto the internet, just as the previous artistic director, Yuri Burlaka, had had his contract terminated. See theartsdesk report earlier this week.
Filin was a much-praised star on several Bolshoi tours to London - notably popular in a crossdressing role in the satirical collective farm comedy The Bright Stream when he dressed up as a ballerina and tottered about on pointe - who retired only three years ago to become artistic director of Moscow’s second-ranking ballet company, the troupe at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko theatre.
Now 41, he has the advantages of a top-ranking performing career, having partnered such illustrious ballerinas as Nina Ananiashvili and Svetlana Zakharova, and also holds a degree in Performing Arts from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.
He is one of the Bolshoi’s own, having started full-time dance training at the age of nine in the Moscow Choreographic Institute and joining the Bolshoi Ballet, becoming a principal when barely 21.
Much admired in classical lead roles he also showed a rare talent for comedy, with his performances in Ashton’s La fille mal gardée and Ratmansky’s The Bright Stream very much to British taste as well as Russian.
The end of his performing career was marked in 2004 when he had a severe injury during performance, from which he returned briefly before moving on to prepare for directorship.
He is a People’s Artist of the Russian Federation (an equivalent of OBE), married to Bolshoi dancer Inna Petrova, and his appointment is likely to bring a sigh of relief to the troubled Moscow troupe since he not only has Bolshoi written through him like a stick of rock, but he is not known to be a diva in temperament, while certainly having a mind of his own. Currently he has been leading a tour with the Stanislavsky company showing works by major European modern ballet choreographers, such as Jiri Kylian and Mats Ek, who despite their Western renown are unfamiliar to Russian audiences.
Watch Sergei Filin dance with Svetlana Zakharova in the "Egyptian" ballet The Pharaoh's Daughter
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