Russia: Nikolai Tsiskaridze the name of the (new) scandal !

Russia: Nikolai Tsiskaridze the name of the (new) scandal !


As a star ballet soloist of Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theater stands trial over an attack in which acid was thrown in the face of the ballet troupe’s artistic director, the scandals rocking the Russian ballet world have reached St. Petersburg, the historical home of the art form in Russia.

Teachers at the city’s Vaganova Ballet Academy, which has produced legions of Russia’s most famous ballet dancers – from Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky and George Balanchine to Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov – are up in arms after the Russian culture minister named flamboyant and divisive dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze as the school’s new head.

After the culture minister appointed Tsiskaridze, an outspoken former Bolshoi star, as head of the school, and Ulyana Lopatkina – a prima ballerina at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater and herself a graduate of the prestigious school – as artistic director, about 100 teachers at the academy and artists from the Mariinsky, of which the Vaganova is an associate school, wrote an impassioned letter to the ministry asking it to review the decision.

Removing the Vaganova’s current rector Vera Dorofeyeva and artistic director Altynai Asylmuratova will “inflict irreparable damage to the administrative-creative potential of the establishment,” according to the letter sent earlier this month. It described the decision as “intolerable,” if not a “criminal decision.”

Tsiskaridze, the letter says, “comes from a completely different school; he is not a bearer and preserver of the traditions of the Petersburg school.” It also says he does not have enough experience teaching children to be head of the academy, which was set up in the 18th century by Empress Anna and whose previous pedagogues have included Marius Petipa and Mikhail Fokine.

Other famous figures in the ballet world have also come out against the decision.

“I would really like to believe that it is not the end of a great school,” said Diana Vishneva, another Mariinsky prima and one of the most highly acclaimed ballerinas in the world, who also trained at the Vaganova.

Bolshoi Fallout

The appointment of Tsiskaridze is not unconnected to the goings on in the Moscow courtroom where dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko stands accused of enlisting an acquaintance to attack Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi ballet troupe’s artistic director, allegedly in revenge for Filin’s casting practices. Tsiskaridze has put in his two cents’ worth to the case that shocked the world, casting doubt on the seriousness of Filin’s injuries and saying the attack was used as an excuse to launch a witch hunt against Tsiskaridze and his allies. He is due to appear as a defense witness in the case.

Tsiskaridze has not been linked directly to the attack, but the former Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov said that the outspoken dancer had contributed to an atmosphere of “constant intrigue” that led to the attack.

The Georgian-born Tsiskaridze, one of the most popular ballet dancers of his generation, has been in a very public war with the Bolshoi leadership since the middle of the last decade when Alexei Ratmansky’s tenure as ballet artistic director – the post Filin holds – saw Tsiskaridze fall out of favor and emerge as a frequent critic of the theater and its management.

He attacked the notoriously expensive six-year Bolshoi renovation project as tacky, comparing the result to a Turkish hotel, and complained of being sidelined. He was eventually dismissed from the Bolshoi this summer, much to the dismay of his army of fans.

Artistic Temperament

Ratmansky, who now works in the United States and has often spoken of the poisonous atmosphere at the Bolshoi, also spoke out about Tsiskaridze’s appointment, writing on his Facebook page: “Why the dismissal in the middle of the school year? … It seems the only fault of the current leadership of the academy was that Nikolai Tsiskaridze was suddenly unemployed.”

The former Bolshoi artistic director posted a video on his Facebook page this week from the 2007 documentary “Strictly Bolshoi” about British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon creating a work for the Bolshoi. In the documentary, Wheeldon is seen to have constant trouble with a moody and capricious Tsiskaridze.

“It’s difficult to work with a guy who rolls his eyes after every step and who behaves in that manner,” Wheeldon says in the film.

Ratmansky agreed.

“This is quintessential Tsiskaridze as I know him from my work at the Bolshoi. Will he be able to change his character/attitude as new director of the Vaganova Academy?” wrote Ratmansky. “I sincerely hope so, otherwise it’s a catastrophe…”

Mariinsky Merger?

Throwing another level of intrigue into the Tsiskaridze appointment scandal is the role of Mariinsky Theater head Valery Gergiev, who is said to have designs on the Vaganova, having been credited with a proposal to merge the academy with the city’s conservatory and put them under the control of the Mariinsky.

Gergiev, a world famous conductor who has previously criticized the academy’s quality, praised Tsiskaridze’s appointment as a “brilliant solution,” sparking rumors that the dancer was part of his plan to take over the academy.

Tsiskaridze said that if the academy staff were against the idea of a merger, he would resign if such an order were given.

It Girl-turned-opposition activist Kseniya Sobchak alleged on that Tsiskaridze’s appointment was the result of active lobbying by the wife of a government corporation head.

The culture ministry has retreated slightly, backtracking on the appointment of Lopatkina and saying that Asylmuratova will keep her position.

Natural Born Teacher

Tsiskaridze, who is due to be confirmed in the position later this year, has already visited the academy and is adamant that he is the right man for the job.

“I am the son of a teacher. My mother taught physics in school and you might say that I grew up in the staffroom. And I know well what is good for a child and what is bad,” he told Moskovskiye Novosti.

As part of his leadership of the Vaganova, he said he would like to bring back the Soviet practice of scout committees traveling the country to look for talented kids to become dancers.

He also pooh-poohed the idea of St. Petersburg ballet having a radically different style from that of Moscow, saying it was purely down to the size of the theater stages.

“If at the Bolshoi there are four square meters for every pair [of dancers in a scene featuring many dancers], at the Mariinsky Theater there is no room to move anywhere and you dance in one square meter, and that’s it,” he said. “It’s amazing that people are seriously discussing the difference and not paying attention to the fact that many leading ballerinas and dancers moved from Leningrad [Petersburg’s Soviet name] to Moscow in the 20th century.”

Manipulations Multiplied

Tsiskaridze insisted that intrigue in the ballet world works against him rather than for him.

“I understand perfectly the motivation of those people who are trying to speak out against my appointment. I know very well who they are friends with and who they are playing games with, and not one intrigue remains unknown to me,” he told Moskovskiye Novosti.

The intrigue surrounding the Vaganova showed no sign of abating this week, as it was announced that four more candidates for the post of head of the academy have appeared, according to Alexei Fomkin, a top academy official who is one of the candidates. He did not name the other three candidates.

The academy’s board will meet later this year to decide.


A new scandal shakes the world of ballet in Russia after the nomination for the Academy of Dance in St. Petersburg of the principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who left the Bolshoi Theater (Moscow) after a dispute with the management.

One hundred teachers of the Vaganova Academy of dance and dancers of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg signed an open letter to President Putin, asking him to return to the “unacceptable” appointment letter which, according to them, “paralyzed” the school which has among his pupils prestigious dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Galina Ulanova.

Tsiskaridze, aged 39, was appointed director in the end of October of the Vaganova Academy after being fired in June of the Bolshoi whose direction almost openly accused of being behind the acid attack against Sergei Filine.

Serge Filin

It was presented on October 28 by the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinski teachers and students in the school whose President and Artistic Director, highly respected, learned the same day they were thanked.

“This nomination virtually paralyzed the work of the Academy and brought enormous damage to the Academy and the entire Russian culture,” wrote the signatories to this letter also addressed to Unesco. They deplore the departure of the rector Vera Dorofeeva and artistic director Altynai Assylmouratova and denounce “a criminal or unacceptable decision,” before requesting the appointment of Tsiskaridze “be reviewed immediately under the Russian laws.” The new president is a graduate of the Academy of Choreography Moscow, known for a different style of dance traditionally considered less prestigious than its rival St. Petersburg. Very media personality, Nikolai Tsiskaridze should participate Tuesday in a press conference in Moscow that he finally snubbed. The Russian star dancer Diana Vishneva graduated from Vaganova, said last week that the “legendary” school was “become a spare part in a game that has nothing to do with the Academy” by suggesting that Tsiskaridze which the society column assigns high protective placed was not “morally blameless”. Before being returned to the Bolshoi in June, he was engaged in a bitter feud with the direction of the theater after the attack occurred in January against his rival Sergei Filine acid.


The director of the Bolshoi, Anatoly Iksanov – sacked since – had almost openly accused Mr. Tsiskaridze of being behind the attack. The dancer had for its part questioned the severity of the injuries Mr. Filine, which almost lost sight and Wednesday to testify at the trial of the Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitritchenko arrested and suspected of having ordered the attack. Tsiskaridze appears in this case as a “witness for the defense.” The critically acclaimed ballet Tatiana Kuznetsova compared appointed Tsiskaridze St. Petersburg “an operation of special services” in an article in the weekly magazine Vlast. It explains the discontent after his appointment by the character of Tsiskaridze, which “raises concerns”, but also by the fact that “the former star and former teacher at the Bolshoi is not as estimated in the workplace that think his admirers, statesmen and their wives. ” The appointment of Tsiskaridze also comes after several weeks of conflict between the Vaganova Academy, a school founded in 1738 which forms including the Mariinsky dancers and the director of that theater, Valery Gergiev, who proposed to combine the two institutions within the same structure. Vera Dorofeïeva, the rector of the Vaganova Academy sacked, said Tuesday at the Echo of Moscow radio with Tsiskaridze Academy would lose its independence.


La Academia Vaganova, una reputada escuela de danza en San Petersburgo, pidió el martes al presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, que anule el nombramiento como rector de Nikolai Tsiskaridze, salpicado por el escándalo del Bolshoi.

Tsiskaridze, de 39 años, fue designado a finales de octubre rector de esta institución por la que pasaron alumnos como Rudolf Nureyev, Mijaíl Baryshnikov y Galina Ulanova, tras ser despedido del Bolshoi a raíz del escándalo surgido por la agresión con ácido del director artístico del gran teatro moscovita.

El 28 de octubre, el ministro de Cultura Vladimir Medinski lo presentó a profesores y alumnos del colegio, el mismo día en que la rectora y la directora artística, muy respetada, se enteraron de que habían sido despedidas.

©Vaganova Ballet Academy

“Este nombramiento precipitado prácticamente ha paralizado el trabajo de la Academia y ha supuesto un perjuicio enorme tanto para la Academia como para toda la cultura rusa”, escriben un centenar de profesores de la Academia Vaganova y bailarines del teatro Mariinski de San Petersburgo en esta carta que también han enviado a la UNESCO.

La salida de la rectora Vera Dorofeyeva y la directora artística Altynai Asylmuratova “supone un perjuicio irreparable” para la escuela y su tradición, dicen los firmantes.

También denuncian “una decisión inaceptable e incluso criminal” y piden que “en el marco de la legislación rusa se revise” este nombramiento.

Tsiskaridze tiene un diploma de la Academia de Coreografía de Moscú, conocida por otro estilo de danza menos prestigiosa que su rival de San Petersburgo.

Antes de ser despedido del Bolshoi en junio, Nikolai Tsiskaridze se enzarzó en una virulenta pelea con la dirección del teatro tras el ataque con ácido perpetrado en enero contra su rival Serguei Filin.

El director del Bolshoi, Anatoli Iksanov – despedido después – acusó casi abiertamente a Tsiskaridze de instigar esta agresión.

El bailarín puso en duda la gravedad de las heridas de Filin, que prácticamente ha perdido la vista. Ahora comparece en tanto que “testigo de la defensa” en el juicio del bailarín del Bolshoi Pavel Dimitrichenko, detenido y sospechoso de ser el autor de la agresión.


Esta petição foi criada tendo em vista a remoção do recém-empossado director da Academia Vaganova de São Petersburgo, que provocou um clamor público grave.

Por decreto do Ministério da cultura da Federação Russa, ex-bailarino principal do Teatro Bolshoi, Nikolai Tsiskaridze foi nomeado para o cargo de director da Academia. Nós, os apoiantes do abaixo-assinado da cultura russa, já nos manifestámos contra esta nomeação. Nós, abaixo-assinados, consideramos também esta decisão imprudente, ilegal e prejudicial para o destino da Academia. Acreditamos que é nosso dever como cidadãos demonstrar publicamente a nossa opinião.
Toda a Comunidade cultural de nosso país detém profundo respeito para o extraordinário talento artístico do povo artista N. M. Tsiskaridze. Ele não é apenas um dançarino talentoso, mas amado pelo povo e conhecido pelo público em geral como uma “cara na mídia”. No entanto, o cargo de reitor da Academia requer uma longa lista de outras qualidades do candidato. O reitor da Academia de balé russo de Vaganova é um funcionário público que responde a processos administrativo, educacional e comercial neste Instituto de ensino superior, onde mais de 600 alunos estudam e aproximadamente 1000 pedagogos ensinam. O reitor dirige a todos os processos educativos para disciplinas especializadas e gerais; no regime atual, ele decide questões administrativas diárias; coordenadas pessoal política e questões de segurança social para os empregados; e monitora constantemente o apoio da instituição enorme da Academia, que inclui não só o edifício educacional, mas os dormitórios para estudantes. Tudo isto requer não só o entusiasmo e o conhecimento dos detalhes da profissão de dançarina, mas gerencial de grande trabalho. Notamos, em particular, um traço específico da Academia: inclui, além do Instituto de ensino superior, uma escola de ensino secundário geral, portanto, o reitor deve ter uma ampla gama de conhecimentos no trabalho com crianças.
Objetivamente temos de admitir que N. M. Tsiskaridze não tem este tipo de experiência de trabalho. É totalmente possível que Nikolai Mikhailovich como um indivíduo talentoso pode vir a ser um diretor capaz, no entanto, estamos certos de que o desenvolvimento de tais habilidades deve ocorrer em posições menos importantes do que dirigir uma instituição de ensino de artes que é respeitada em todo o mundo.

No entanto, outro aspecto importante que requer atenção constante e invoca a maior apreensão entre pedagogos de dança e especialistas no mundo do balé é a preservação do que é chamado de “a escola”-ou seja, uma metodologia de treinamento específico. A escola de ballet de Petersburg é o mais antigo do país e uma das mais antigas do mundo. 275 Anos tem treinado e se formou talentosos artistas, muitos dos quais tornaram-se mundialmente conhecidos. Tem formado sua própria “assinatura” pedagógica e desenvolveu a metodologia exclusiva, é o próprio particular “odor”. Tradições de sucessão geracional formaram que é muito importante para a preservação e a transmissão de experiência profissional e o apoio de mais alto nível da escola de ballet de Petersburgo, uma escola reconhecida em todo o mundo. Os portadores de Petersburgo a dançar tradições..–anteriores graduados..–ensinar novas gerações de dançarinos na Academia. Não é uma coincidência que a administração da Academia é protegida por seus próprios graduados. Nikolai Tsiskaridze, tanto um aluno brilhante e respeitado, vem de uma escola completamente diferente; Ele não é um portador e preservador das tradições da escola de Petersburgo.

Por outro lado, a paralela nomeação para o cargo de agir primeiro diretor artístico, de pró-reitor da Academia, bailarina talentosa e agindo de Lopatkina de U.V. o Teatro Mariinsky, é intrigante. Sem dúvida ela é uma dos mais brilhantes graduados da Academia, porém é verificável conhecido que U.V. Lopatkina não planeja parar sua atividade realizando, como ela pretende combinar isso com as atividades administrativas da Academia. Estamos totalmente certos de que esta combinação não pode ter lugar a nível profissional sério. Inevitavelmente uma das duas áreas não receberá a atenção adequada. Considerando que a profissão de uma bailarina requer ensaios e trabalho diário, é lógico presumir que seja o processo educativo na academia que vai sofrer de administração “parcial”. A súbita mudança na administração da Academia chama adiante ainda uma outra pergunta. O reitor anterior da Academia, VA Dorofeyeva, foi nomeado para a posição por decreto do Ministério da cultura, eficaz até 2016. Na verdade, o Ministério da cultura, como Instituto possui plenos direitos a designar e remover funcionários em instituições sob a sua jurisdição. No entanto, a remoção de V. A. Dorofeyeva (bem como diretor artístico da Academia, A.A. Asylmuratova), no meio do ano letivo e sem notificação prévia, deve ter uma razão extremamente válida conectada com graves violações administrativas. Nesta situação em particular, nenhuma reivindicação concreta no sentido Dorofeyeva de veteranos e A.A. Asylmuratova foram feitas. Consideramos a brusquidão e groundlessness desta decisão pelo Ministério da cultura da Rússia, além de tudo mais, para trazer dano apreciável para a reputação do reitor formulário e pró-reitor da Academia, que são ambos os indivíduos muito respeitados no mundo profissional de ballet na Rússia e internacionalmente.

Nós não tente julgar os objetivos que podem estar por trás de tais substituições de funcionários apressado, inesperado. No entanto, como somos apaixonados sobre o destino da Academia, podemos pôr em causa o fato de que estas decisões irão beneficiar a instituição de ensino, cujos graduados trouxeram e continuam a trazer fama e reconhecimento internacional para a cultura de São Petersburgo e da Rússia.

É evidente que hoje a situação simplesmente não tornam-se tensas, mas chegou a um beco sem saída. Consideramos que, em nome de preservar a estabilidade do desenvolvimento futuro deste exclusivo artística Instituto de ensino superior, seria mais correto envolver o Conselho acadêmico da academia nos próximos dias a fim de oferecer ao Ministério da cultura da Rússia seus próprios candidatos para consideração para os cargos de reitor e diretor artístico da Academia Vaganova.

Estamos confiantes de que tal decisão irá permitir-nos para superar esta crise e dar a Academia a capacidade de continuar o seu trabalho em benefício do balé russo e cultura russa.



Published by Antonio Laginha

Autoria e redação

António Laginha, editor e autor da maioria dos textos da RD, escreve como aprendeu antes do pretenso Acordo Ortográfico de 1990, o qual não foi ratificado por todos os países de língua portuguesa.

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