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Dancer acid attack: Sulfuric acid attack, 6 years for Bolshoi Ballet star dancer

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The dancer acid attack during which a masked assailant tossed sulfuric acid in Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin’s face, has resulted in a six-year sentence for Bolshoi Ballet’s star dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko (who is considered to have orchestrated the acid attack), a 10-year sentence for Yuri Zarutsky, and a four-year sentence for Andrei Lipatov, reported CNN on Dec. 3, 2013.

The dancer acid attack occurred in January as Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin was walking home to his Moscow apartment. Early on, the man suspected of having been behind the acid attack was no other than Bolshoi Ballet’s star dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko. Born on Jan. 3, 1984, Pavel was born in Moscow into a family of artists.

Since the dancer acid attack, Sergei Filin, who was severely burned and nearly blinded, spent the last few months in Germany where doctors tried to save his eyesight. On Tuesday, the judge reached his final verdict in regard to the acid attack case and along with Bolshoi Ballet’s star dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, accomplice Yuri Zarutsky and the driver Andrei Lipatov were sentenced.

When the dancer acid attack on Sergei Filin happened in January, it sent an international shock around the world. The Bolshoi Ballet is internationally renowned and admired as one of the world’s oldest classical ballet companies. The Bolshoi Ballet has been in existence since 1776 and is based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Unfortunately, equal to its international reputation as a world-class company are also the intrigues that have plagued the Bolshoi Ballet.

Just a few months before the dancer acid attack, Joy Womack, the first American to fulfill her dream of training at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, quit the Bolshoi Ballet in less than two years. According to a PRI report, the 19-year-old dancer “accused a director there, whom she did not name, of extortion. She told a Russian newspaper that the director insisted she pay $10,000 to secure a solo.” In the end, however, Joy Womack’s conflict with the Bolshoi Ballet was interpreted not as a case of a rich American being able to pay extortion money but as an American who “was much less willing to engage in the various politics and interpersonal dramas that play out inside the theater."

Besides Joy Womack, some of those interpersonal dramas involve Boshoi ballerinas who have alleged that within the Bolshoi Theatre, there is a system of sponsorship that includes ballerinas having a sexual relationship with wealthy supporters of the theater. “They say if a ballerina has a sponsor, she's more likely to get a lead role. It is, essentially, part of the Bolshoi tradition going back hundreds of years. The billionaires and multimillionaires who have the resources to sponsor and finance the theater, they are allowed to attend these galas where, allegedly, directors encourage the ballerinas to develop relationships with them that are sometimes not platonic."

After the dancer acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin took place in January, it was assumed by the Russian media that the attack was linked to the political intrigues occurring at the Bolshoi Theatre.

During the dancer acid attack trial, former soloist dancer Pavel V. Dmitrichenki argued that “he had wanted Filin to be punished in some way for failing to give him the roles he wanted; for example, by being beaten up. But, the dancer said, he did not expect Filin to be subjected to an acid attack.”

To confirm Pavel V. Dmitrichenki’s argument, the accomplice in the dancer acid attack, Yuri Zarutsky, said that the acid attack was his own idea. Even though many Bolshoi dancers signed a letter asking the judge for leniency for Pavel V. Dmitrichenki, the judge still felt that the former Bolshoi Ballet solo dancer was the mastermind behind the dancer acid attack. Pavel's lawyer says that he intends to appeal the verdict.

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