A Terrible Day for Ballet

Bolshoi Ballet director Sergei Filin was attacked near his home last night by a masked man who threw acid on Filin's face. The director is suffering from third-degree burns that will require extensive plastic surgery, and sources from the company say that he may also lose his eyesight.

Some are speculating that the attack on Filin is linked to company politics, particularly his casting decisions. For those of us hearing the news in the U.S., that sounds as surreal as it does terrifying. But internal affairs at the Bolshoi are notoriously turbulent, and because the company is so fiercely loved by its Moscow patrons, stakes are high. Infighting is common and vicious. (If you'd like to find out more about the conflicts rumored to have spurred this attack, the New York Times and Washington Post have good summaries.) Last night's incident was apparently preceded by a series of scary threats to Filin, including harassing phone calls and tire slashing.

Reports are that Filin is about to be flown to Brussels to receive treatment at a special burn clinic. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. And we hope, too, that the ballet world will someday be as beautiful behind the scenes as it is onstage.

Latest Posts


Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search