“I am against the war with all my soul”: a famous Russian ballerina leaves the Bolshoi

Olga Smirnova, one of the most talented and admired Russian dancers of her generation, bows to the Bolshoi. Objectively ? Despise the horrors of the war in Ukraine.

As the Russian offensive intensifies, the Bolshoi’s star ballerina has made a bold and radical decision: to stop working for her native country. After more than 11 years of career with the prestigious Russian company, Olga Smirnova now joins the Dutch National Ballet, a company from Amsterdam.

It is a brave, symbolic and militant act that recalls the defection of ballet legends to the West during the Soviet era. According to the Dutch group, quoted by BFM TVthe ballerina, whose grandfather is Ukrainian, had been thinking about leaving the Bolshoi for a while, but “current circumstances” accelerated his decision-making.

“I have to be honest and say that I am against war with all my soul. […] I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia […] but today I feel like there is a before and an after.”

Like the star of the Bolshoi, Victor Caixeta, soloist of the Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg, has also decided to leave Russia to join the Dutch National Ballet.

We perform as prima ballerina Olga Smirnova of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet and second soloist Victor Caixeta of the…

Posted by Dutch National Ballet – Dutch National Ballet on Wednesday 16 March 2022

On Facebook, Dutch National Ballet praised the decision of the dancer and prima ballerina: “We welcome the outstanding ballerina Olga Smirnova of the Bolshoi Russian Ballet and second soloist Victor Caixeta of the Mariinsky Russian Ballet directly to our company. Because of the war in Ukraine, it was no longer possible for both dancers to work in Russia, so they decided to join the Dutch National Ballet. We welcome them with open arms.”

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