Blow for Bolshoi as star ballet couple quits

14th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's Bolshoi Theatre was reeling Monday after two of the most celebrated dancers in world ballet announced they were quitting the company for a lesser-known troupe.

Ivan Vasiliev and Natalya Osipova, a real-life couple whose amazing technique and passionate performances have won a worldwide following, have both handed in their notice, Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told AFP.

In a decision that has rocked the ballet world, they are intending to move to the Mikhailovsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg, a well-regarded house that is nonetheless overshadowed in Russia's second city by the world famous Mariinsky.

The departure of possibly the two greatest attractions in its entire company is a huge blow for the Bolshoi ballet just weeks after it re-opened its historic theatre after a painful closure of over half a decade.

Novikova indicated that the Bolshoi was stunned by the move and would seek to talk the young pair round.

"I hope that in the next two weeks (the legal notice period) they will have a rethink. They are incredible artists who grew up in the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi is open for them and I hope that it will stay their home," she added.

"They are leaving in the season when the historic theatre has reopened. And not even to the Paris Opera but to the Mikhailovsky Theatre."

The head of the Bolshoi ballet, Sergei Filin, told the RIA Novosti news agency that "nothing had been signed" and the theatre hoped to conduct negotiations with the pair.

© 2011 AFP

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