Two of the Bolshoi Theater’s top dancers, Natalya Osipova and Ivan Vasilyev, shocked the ballet world this week by announcing that they were quitting the country’s top ballet theater for St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater.
The duo, a couple in real life, will make their debut in St. Petersburg on Dec. 1.
“The main reason I’m leaving the Bolshoi is the lack of repertoire. Everything I could dance there I have already performed,” Osipova told the St. Petersburg web site Fontanka.ru: “We strive for creative freedom. When life becomes too comfortable for me, I feel a huge need to change something, to get rid of that comfortable and stable current.”
The Bolshoi Theater reacted sharply with Anatoly Iksanov, general director of the Bolshoi Theater, accusing the pair of moving for monetary gain.
“As for the motives for the ballet soloists’ decision, then I am certain that it is in no way connected to creativity,” Itar-Tass reported Iksanov as saying, calling it “an attack on the chief theater of the country.”