Russia's Bolshoi Ballet announced Saturday it will not renew its contract with star veteran dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who has been at odds with the theater ever since he spoke out publically about the January acid attack on the company's artistic director.
Tsiskaridze, 39, who has been with the Bolshoi since 1992 as a principal dancer and teacher, claims he was told his contract wouldn't be renewed when it expires at the end of June.
"He had a one-year, short-term contract, and this contract is over," Katerina Novikova, the Bolshoi's spokeswoman, said. "The Bolshoi's leadership decided not to renew it."
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In January, Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin was the victim of an acid attack that left him with severe burns on his face and eyes. At the time, theater director Anatoly Iksanov made comments that suggested Tsiskaridze may have had something to do with the attack. The ballet star fired back, arguing that the Bolshoi was conducting a witch-hunt against him.
Since then, their relationship has been rocky.
Earlier this year, the Bolshoi filed two reprimands against Tsiskaridze for giving unauthorized interviews after the attack.
Tsiskaridze has denied having anything to do with the attack and insists the Bolshoi has been trying to drive him out.
"I am not upset,"
he told the New York Times of his dismissal. "All this was thought up to make a mockery of me. I knew it would happen. Their opera, 'Prince Igor,' was a failure. And they needed to distract attention with another scandal."
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Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, a Tsiskaridze protégé at the Bolshoi, and two alleged accomplices were charged over the acid attack and are in jail awaiting trial. They face up to 12 years in prison if convicted. The trial date has yet to be set.
Filin, who has been receiving medical treatment in Germany since the attack, has vowed to return to work as soon as possible.
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