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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grigorovich to Be Offered A Fresh Start With Bolshoi

Following widespread rumors of his imminent departure from the Bolshoi theater, artistic director and head choreographer Yury Grigorovich is to be offered a new contract by the theater, deputy director Valery Zakharov said Thursday.

"The contract is between Grigorovich and general director Vladimir Kokonin. But he will be offered a contract and it should be for up to three years," Zakharov told The Moscow Times.

Grigorovich himself was not in Moscow to comment. Last Saturday afternoon, he flew out of Sheremetyevo-2, telling close associates he was going to London on business. Theater sources said he was expected back in Moscow before the weekend.

The artistic director's sudden departure fueled fresh speculation about his future at the theater. Last Friday night after a gala performance of La Sylphide, Grigorovich appeared on stage with long-time rival and occasional collaborator, Oleg Vinogradov, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg. After the curtains closed the choreographer joked about leaving the theater.

"We are all looking for work, we all need a job," he said.

Vinogradov said that if the Grigorovich jubilee was for any reason postponed in Moscow, he would host it in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky theater, where both men began work 35 years ago.

Carping from dancers themselves has subsided over the last two weeks, to be replaced by a groundswell of support from artists.

Natasha Arkhipova, a principal dancer, has led a delegation of dancers who have written letters in support of Grigorovich to Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin, Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, the Culture Ministry and the Council of Ministers, and met with representatives of the Federation Council.

"We're tired of not knowing what's going on and conspiracies between the president's office, Bolshoi theater direction and the Culture Ministry to displace Yury Grigorovich. He is a unique talent and if you ask dancers, none of us want to lose him," she said Sunday.

Zakharov said the only scenario in which Grigorovich might depart now is by his own volition: "If Grigorovich himself chooses to depart it is another matter."