Bol­shoi dancer fears for safety

Threats, black­mail keep her in Canada

Ottawa Citizen - - CANADA - COLIN PERKEL

TORONTO • A renowned Rus­sian bal­le­rina with the famed Bol­shoi The­atre has de­cided against re­turn­ing home from Canada be­cause she fears for her safety, a Rus­sian news­pa­per re­ported Tues­day.

In its report, the Izves­tia daily cited Svet­lana Lunk­ina as re­ceiv­ing threats and fac­ing black­mail.

“We need to re­act to th­ese threats,” Lunk­ina told Izves­tia. “Th­ese peo­ple have no right to in­ter­fere in our pri­vate lives or my pro­fes­sional work.”

She did not elab­o­rate ex­actly on the na­ture of the threats.

The Izves­tia report comes af­ter an acid at­tack on the Bol­shoi’s chief last week that left his face burned.

The prima bal­le­rina, 33, who has been in Canada for the last six months, reg­is­tered a dance stu­dio last Oc­to­ber in Klein­berg, Ont., just north of Toronto.

Kevin Pugh, artis­tic di­rec­tor with Dance Teq, said he met Lunk­ina when she came to the stu­dio to take classes last fall. “When I was in the hospi­tal, she subbed for me once, and peo­ple loved her,” Pugh told The Cana­dian Press. “I just had to wait to see if she had her pa­pers.”

The Bol­shoi The­atre has been trou­bled by deep in­trigue and in­fight­ing that have led to the de­par­ture of sev­eral artis­tic direc­tors over the last few years.

Ear­lier this month, some­one splashed artis­tic di­rec­tor Sergei Filin with acid.

Lunk­ina, who has danced with the Bol­shoi since 1997, said there is no ap­par­ent con­nec­tion be­tween the threats against her and the acid at­tack.

MIKHAIL METZEL /THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/AP

Bal­le­rina Svet­lana Lunk­ina, shown in this 2007 pho­to­graph per­form­ing with Rus­lan Skvortsov in Moscow, has de­cided against re­turn­ing to Rus­sia from Canada be­cause she fears for her safety, the Rus­sian news­pa­per Izves­tia re­ported Tues­day.

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