Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet's Artistic Director who was attacked by a masked assailant that threw acid into his face earlier this month is slowly recovering from his injuries (extensive third degree burns to his face, head and eyes). Doctors initially feared for Filin's eyesight, but after four operations (two on each eye) Vladimir Neroyev, one of Russia's leading eye doctors is confident Filin will retain at least some vision in each eye - enough to go back to work once the long rehabilitation process is complete. At this stage the Bolshoi's long history of power stuggles and competitiveness over sought after positions has lead police to believe that resentment or jealousy are possible motives for the attack (it has surfaced that Filin was receiving sinister threats for over a month leading up to the incident). No arrests have been made so far. For now the company must continue on without it's Artistic Director, as Filin will be unable to lead the company for quite some time. Doctors say the 43 year old faces a year of medical treatment and rehabilitation, with his fifth performed last Monday. Despite this, Filin made sure he gave the dancers a pep talk ahead of the Premiere of the company's production of La Bayadere, the only way he could - via Skype. The dancers listened intently to his speech on an iPad that was propped up on the stage. He said that he loved them endlessly and that they should forget about everything and “dance, dance, dance.” Natalya Revich, who coaches the children, said the dancers seemed to collect themselves after that, to “take the responsibility on themselves, since they were without a leader.” Lidia Shcherbakova, a makeup artist who has worked at the Bolshoi for 47 years, said she had the feeling that the dancers were “trying harder, so that he won’t be ashamed.”
“The theater is a huge system; several thousand people work in it. A huge mechanism is at work, and even if such an important person as Filin has dropped out of it, nevertheless the mechanism continues to work. Because it has a mission, and it cannot stop working.” - One of the many workers at the theatre, who chose to remain anonymous.
In related news, the already shaken members of the Bolshoi Ballet have been left stunned at star soloist Svetlana Lunkina's abrupt announcement that she is leaving the Bolshoi and moving to Canada, after also receiving threatening messages - an added blow to the troubled company. It is not believed that the threats are related to Filin's, but rather linked to her husband's work. Still, the added drama is just more unwanted attention for the company, which is being scandalised in the local press with many reporters digging up everything from the Ballet's long and admittedly dark past. Still, true to the saying, and true to the Bolshoi Ballet's renowned standard and hardiness, after continuing to thrive for over two hundred years (and despite the Theatre burning down three times!) ...the show must go on.