Plus ca change at the Bolshoi

This really isn\’t very different you know:

Anastasia Volochokova, 37, speaking in an interview on a television talk show in Russia, said mainly dancers in the corps du ballet were made to sleep with benefactors but soloists were also sometimes forced to.

Volochokova claimed that the dancers were told to attend \’grand dinners\’ and were given the choice of having sex with a rich patron or not going on tour or performing at the Bolshoi.

The place has always been a girlfriend farm for the powerful of Moscow. Used to be the commies, now it\’s those with money. Shrug.

Indeed, historically, the corps de ballet has been where many an aspiring athletic girl has served for a time as an advertisement to the wealthy patrons of the arts. As, umm, an advertisement for a wealthy patron.

No one would even raise an eyebrow in, say, Georgian times over that being one of the functions of the institution in fact. It\’s only subsequently in our own country that the art being practised has changed. Largely as the advertising side of the business moved off to the chorus line.

A harsh description but a true one I\’m afraid.

5 thoughts on “Plus ca change at the Bolshoi”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    The place has always been a girlfriend farm for the powerful of Moscow. Used to be the commies, now it’s those with money. Shrug.

    It is older than that as it is a commonplace in Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. But please do not ask where because I do not care to look it up.

    But the issue is really one of being forced to do anything with threats to their career. In Tsarist days presumably no one was forced to do much post-serfdom. Men had to be generous and maybe even charming. This looks like a toxic Soviet legacy.

  2. SMFS,

    It sounds like a form of corruption. You’re a sponsor, responsible for spending a few million of your employer’s money on corporate sponsorship. What do you get out of it?

    Just another form of golf days, tickets to Twickenham, only bigger and seedier.

  3. SMFS
    “But the issue is really one of being forced to do anything with threats to their career. In Tsarist days presumably no one was forced to do much post-serfdom. Men had to be generous and maybe even charming. This looks like a toxic Soviet legacy.”

    “Presumably ?” Sorry, but wtf do you assume that in the Tsarist era powerful men were charming lovers? I often disagree with TW, but at least he has the sense to see that people with power will tend to abuse it.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    The Stigler – “It sounds like a form of corruption. You-re a sponsor, responsible for spending a few million of your employer

  5. So Much for Subtlety

    The Stigler – “It sounds like a form of corruption. You-re a sponsor, responsible for spending a few million of your employer-s money on corporate sponsorship. What do you get out of it?”

    I am sure rich men just like being generous when it comes to pretty girls. Like Charles Taylor giving Naomi Campbell a diamond. Purely out of the kindness of his own heart.

    “Just another form of golf days, tickets to Twickenham, only bigger and seedier.”

    I am sure one of the pleasures of paying, say, Beyonce a large sum of money for a private performance is the thought of meeting her, that is, the chance of hitting on her and getting her into bed. I don-t see why anyone would do it otherwise. Which is fine by me as long as no one is forced to do it.

    3 Luke – “Sorry, but wtf do you assume that in the Tsarist era powerful men were charming lovers? I often disagree with TW, but at least he has the sense to see that people with power will tend to abuse it.”

    Because people would have mentioned it if it worked the other way. Tolstoy implies a lot of things about his characters but rape is rarely one of them. Sure people who have power will tend to abuse it, but I suspect back in the day a lot of Tsarist Ministers took their religious obligations seriously and so most did not have any mistresses at all. Those that did have one had what power precisely over a ballet dancer? You can-t abuse a power you do not have – one of the benefits of a liberal society. Thus they would have to be generous or charming or both.

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