Fired Bolshoi dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze gets controversial new job
Nikolai Tsiskaridze was fired from the Bolshoi ballet company in Russia. He was said to be associated with an acid attack on a fellow dancer, Sergei Filin. Although he had announced his retirement amidst his firing, he has not disappeared from the Russian ballet scene. He has recently been appointed to the prestigious position of rector of the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. The Vaganova Academy originated from the ballet school funded by Empress Anna Ivanova in 1738. Thousands of children audition every year for entrance into the program and many of the graduates feed into the Mariinsky Ballet company. The training received at this academy is seen as the gold standard around the world.
Tsiskaridze's appointment to the position has been controversial because he doesn't have the extensive coaching experience nor the "legal education" that the academy ministry desired or his predecessors possessed. Vaganova likely appointed Tsiskaridze as rector because of the growing tension between the academy and Valery Gergiev. Gergiev, the general director of Mariinsky company, has been trying to place Vaganova Academy under the umbrella of the Mariinsky company.
The ballet companies in Russia have been rather troubled. Gergiev, some say, rule Mariinsky with an iron fist. The dancers work long hours, perform repetitious shows, and have extensive touring schedules to support the projects that Gergiev is most interested in. Not even those at the top-rated Vaganova Academy are free from scrutiny. A former lustrous Russian ballerina was removed from her positions with Vaganova as their artistic director. The Bolshoi are likely glad to no longer have Tsiskaridze in their portfolio, but it is still difficult to tell what impact he will have on Vaganova.
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