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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 17:38 GMT
'Big ballerina' wins Bolshoi case
Anastasia Volochkova in Saint Petersburg on 29 September
Volochkova says she is 5 ft 7 in tall and weighs 110 pounds
A ballerina who was sacked by the Bolshoi amid reports that she was too heavy has won a lawsuit against the ballet theatre.

Anastasia Volochkova was fired in September after the Bolshoi director said she was too large to lift.

The court ruled that she was illegally dismissed and ordered the Bolshoi to pay the equivalent of $6,400 in damages.

The Bolshoi's lawyer said the Theatre would appeal the court's decision.

BBC Moscow correspondent Jonathan Charles said the dispute had all of the elements of a soap opera, including a glamorous and flamboyant cast.

Ms Volochkova is one of the country's best known ballerinas with the looks of a fashion model.

But the management at the Bolshoi claimed that being 169 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall and weighing 50 kg (110 pounds) she was too big and her male partners complained they risked injury when they lifted her during performances.

'Symbolic sum'

At the height of the feud between Ms Volochkova and the Bolshoi, Russia's labour minister Alexander Pochinok urged the company to take her back, saying they broke labour laws.

Now the court has ordered the Bolshoi to reinstate her and pay her salary during the months of enforced absence.

When she launched the lawsuit, Ms Volochkova said that any compensation would be "merely a symbolic sum".

Ms Volochkova has as many critics as she has supporters and the Russian press has reported that the dispute may have had more to do with her ego than with her size.

But she denied she was difficult and accused theatre's director of finding excuses to prevent her working at the theatre.

The BBC's Yvonne Ndege
"It is unlikely she will be dancing for the company anytime soon as they plan to appeal"

'Big ballerina' sues over sacking
23 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Big ballerina 'unfairly sacked'
29 Sep 03  |  Europe
Dancer may sue for 'too heavy' claim
19 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Bolshoi ballet fires big star
16 Sep 03  |  Europe

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