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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Dancer may sue for 'too heavy' claim
Anastasia Volochkova
The ballerina says her lawyers are preparing a lawsuit
A Russian ballet star has threatened to sue her theatre company for allegedly saying she is too overweight for her fellow dancers.

Anastasia Volochkova is also claiming unfair dismissal in the spat with the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre company.

Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov said male dancers had complained she was too tall and heavy to lift.

The 27-year-old ballerina, who has openly talked about the row, said Mr Iksanov's suggestions were "nonsense".

"It's a myth that partners refuse to dance with me. In fact, the managers are trying to discourage them from dancing with me," she said.

The dancer said she weighs about 50 kg (110 pounds) and, at 5ft 6ins, was not as tall as the Bolshoi claimed.

Bolshoi Ballet
The Bolshoi Theatre is based in Moscow

Mr Iksanov said he fired Ms Volochkova because of her excessive demands and her failure to sign a new contract after her old one expired in June.

But the star says she was only offered a contract until December, instead of the usual one-year deal.

"I only wanted a contract on equal conditions with others. The contract they offered me amounted to a gradual dismissal," she said.

Ms Volochkova appeared on a live television programme on Russian network NTV earlier this week alongside Alexander Gafin, the executive director of the Bolshoi Theatre Foundation.

Mr Gafin said the ballerina had a high opinion of herself but Ms Volochkova told the audience she was the victim of a "plot".

There may still be some hope for reconciliation however, with Ms Volochkova saying she would agree to a contract until December as long as the conditions were the same as for the Bolshoi's other top dancers.

Mr Gafin said: "A compromise, of course, is possible."




SEE ALSO:
Bolshoi ballet fires big star
16 Sep 03  |  Europe
Bolshoi gets cash boost
05 Jun 02  |  Entertainment
Bolshoi names new 'director'
27 Jun 01  |  Entertainment


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