Bolshoi ballet names new acting artistic director

Bolshoi ballet names new acting artistic director

MOSCOW - The Associated Press
The Bolshoi ballet on Jan. 22 named a former prima ballerina to fill in for artistic director Sergei Filin, whose face and eyes were burned in an acid attack.

The appointment of Galina Stepanenko, who joined the famed ballet company in 1990 and retired from dancing only last year, was announced by the Bolshoi general director and Russia’s culture minister during a meeting with the dancers.

The acid attack on Filin last week was seen as possible retaliation for his selection of certain dancers over others for prized roles. His attacker has not been identified.

Bolshoi Theater general director Anatoly Iksanov said Stepanenko was Filin’s choice to serve as acting artistic director and that he supported the decision. Filin and Stepanenko, both 42, had danced together for many years.

Filin underwent operation

Filin underwent an operation on his eyes yesterday as doctors battled to restore his sight after the horrific acid attack.

Russia’s chief eye-doctor Vladimir Neroyev told RIA Novosti state news agency that the operation in a Moscow hospital “went successfully, without complications. We note his condition is stable that is already good.” “Today we have more optimism,” Neroyev added.

Both Filin’s eyes were injured, with the right eye more seriously damaged, prompting fears that he will be unable to return to his high-profile job, which involves picking out dancers for starring roles and approving the repertoire of the venerable company where he was once a principal dancer.

“Its state is worse,” Neroyev said of Filin’s right eye, but added: “We will do everything possible to ensure that all goes well for Sergei Filin in the future.” However, there are fears that Filin might never recover his sight fully.

“It’s possible that Sergei will not get his sight back fully,” a medical source told the Interfax news agency, saying that an accurate prediction would only be possible in one to two weeks.

Filin said in his first major interview after the attack that he could make out little detail with his right eye. “Sometimes I get to see all the fingers on my hand. This fills me with optimism and hope.