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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: Artistic director Sergei Filin, disfigured in acid attack, makes return to Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet

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Eight months after he was nearly blinded by an acid attack, artistic director Sergei Filin made his return Tuesday to Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet.


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Mr. Filin’s return marks the end of months of drama surrounding the Bolshoi, including tales of bitter jealousy, an offstage romance, and rivalries that culminated in the violent January attack.


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In January of this year, Mr. Filin suffered burns to both of his eyes after a man threw acid in his face one evening outside his home. His attacker, clad in a wooly hat and scarf, threw the sulfuric acid out of a glass jar. “The burning was so awful,” Mr. Filin later said to The New Yorker. “I started shouting, ‘Help! Help! I need help!”


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One of the Bolshoi’s top dancers, Pavel Dmitrichenko, who was well-known for playing villains, soon confessed to the attack. Two other men – allegedly accomplices – were also arrested. All three men are currently on trial.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

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Mr. Dmitrichenko’s confessions quickly sparked rumours that his girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, may have been the reason for the attack. Mr. Filin’s adviser told The New York Times that Mr. Dmitrichenko was upset that Ms. Vorontsova, also a ballerina with the Bolshoi, had been passed up for the lead role in Swan Lake.

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The drama surrounding the attack was so damaging to the Bolshoi’s reputation that veteran director Anatoly Iksanov was soon ousted.


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But before Mr. Iksanov’s departure, however, he unleashed one last accusation, suggesting that another one of Bolshoi’s top dancers, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, might have also played a role in inciting the acid attack. Mr. Tsiskaridze has denied this.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

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Wearing dark glasses to protect himself from the theatre’s lights, Mr. Filin thanked his fans and the Bolshoi for their support Tuesday. “I feel good and my condition is stable enough to be here at the opening of the season and to take on work,” he said. “I am very glad to see you.”


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