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Bolshoi Star in Battle With Theater Wins Partial Victory

Nikolai Tsiskaridze
A star dancer at the Bolshoi ballet, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, walks upstairs in Tverskoy court in Moscow on April 12, 2013. A Moscow court heard a complaint from Tsiskaridze, who alleges being unfairly treated by the company. ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images via Bloomberg

A Moscow court partially backed a lawsuit brought by Nikolai Tsiskaridze, a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Theater, who is locked in a battle with the ballet company.

Tverskoi District Court Judge Yevgeny Komissarov today agreed to overturn one of two reprimands Tsiskaridze received for giving unauthorized interviews. Both sides said they plan to appeal. Tsiskaridze has said that he is in danger of being fired unless the court expunges the two disciplinary warnings from the Bolshoi.

“This is not their first attempt to sack me,” Georgian-born Tsiskaridze, 39, told the court during today’s hearing. He said he was being victimized.

A battle for control of Russia’s most famous theater, founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great, has become public after an acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin in January.

Tsiskaridze has been making statements to the media. In February, he told the BBC that the theater’s management should be fired. He also said that he was ready to replace Anatoly Iksanov, the Bolshoi’s general director, who then called on Tsiskaridze to resign.

Police detained Pavel Dmitrichenko, a lead dancer at the Bolshoi, in March after he confessed to organizing an assault on Filin. He denied that he had asked the attackers to use acid, which damaged Filin’s face and eyes.

Open Letter

More than 300 members of the ballet have come out in defense of Dmitrichenko. In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, they have called the idea that Dmitrichenko was behind the crime “absurd.”

Iksanov has said he doesn’t believe Dmitrichenko is the mastermind and that another person ordered the assault. He has accused Tsiskaridze of having created an atmosphere at the theater that led to the crime.

Tsiskaridze has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack. The theater would have the right to sack him, if it issues him with another reprimand even after today’s ruling.

Muse highlights include London and New York weekend guides, Lewis Lapham’s podcasts and Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater.

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