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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dancing Tsar in Tights Prompts Protests

A ballet depicting Tsar Nicholas II dancing in tights is drawing protests from members of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has declared the last tsar a saint, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The ballet, "Rasputin," was to open Tuesday night in Yekaterinburg, where the tsar and his family were executed in 1918.

About 100 believers from the Church of Spilled Blood, which was built on the execution site, have called on theater management to cancel the production, Kommersant reported. "Orthodox Christians are offended by the fact that Emperor Nicholas II will be shown dancing in the production," said Maksim Menyailo, a priest from the church, according to Kommersant. "In tsarist Russia, it was not permitted even to show the images of saints on the stage."

Dimity Baibakov, an official of the Yekaterinburg synod, was quoted as saying: "Tsar Nicholas was a martyr. He is not dancing in a tsar's costume but in tights. Is it necessary to make fun of saints?"

Galina Pisulina, director of the Kosmos Theater, where the ballet is to be performed, countered: "If people don't like this, they don't have to watch," according to the newspaper.

The first production of "Rasputin" was shown in a St. Petersburg conservatory last year. Grigory Rasputin was a monk whom the royal family believed to have healing powers and who exerted a strong influence on the family.