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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
'Big ballerina' damages rejected
Anastasia Volochkova at the Bolshoi in December 2003
Volochkova has repeatedly defended her physique
A Russian ballerina, sacked by the Bolshoi amid reports that she was too heavy, has lost her claim for damages.

Anastasia Volochkova had been seeking $1m from the company's director, Anatoly Iksanov, for harming her personal and professional reputation.

Mr Iksanov had said Ms Volochkova, who was subsequently reinstated at the Bolshoi, was too large to lift.

She dismissed his criticism, saying: "Ballet is not an art of kilograms; it is an art of the soul".

Her lawyer was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the damages claim was rejected by a Moscow court as it was judged to have caused no damage to her professional reputation and dignity.

Ballet is not an art of kilograms, it is an art of the soul
Anastasia Volochkova

The management at the Bolshoi claimed last year that the dancer, standing 169cm (5ft7in) tall and weighing 50kg (110 pounds), was too big for her male partners to lift safely during performances.

A court ruled last November that Ms Volochkova, one of Russia's best known ballerinas, had been unfairly dismissed, and that the Bolshoi was to pay her the equivalent of $6,400 (3,700) damages.

Culture minister Mikhail Shvydkoi subsequently said she would have to accept lesser roles, such as a minor part in Swan Lake.

The dancer said she was surprised at his statement.

"I have played the leading role in nearly every classical ballet," she said.

"Legally I should be reinstated into the same position as I was in before."

Ms Volochkova, a self-confessed ice cream lover, also defended her physique.

"Height and weight have never been an indication of a ballerina's greatness," she said.

The BBC's James Ingham
"Her boss decided she was just too heavy"

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02 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
'Big ballerina' wins Bolshoi case
26 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
'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
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16 Sep 03  |  Europe

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