Nov 15, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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There’s another allegation about Moscow’s troubled Bolshoi Ballet.

 The first American dancer to join the Bolshoi after graduating from its school,  is leaving the company because she says she was told she would never get to dance prominent roles – unless she paid a $10,000 bribe.

In 2009, Joy Womack moved to Russia at the age of 15 – to study at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. She joined the Bolshoi last year.

Womack also says she never received the same state contract as other dancers. She frequently wasn’t paid and, when she was, it was in cash. She called the atmosphere at the Bolshoi “kind of shady.”

 The Bolshoi’s director general has asked Womack to file an official complaint. But she has decided to leave the company instead.

The Bolshoi has received a great deal of unwanted attention this year. A former principal dancer is on trial for an acid attack on the artistic director. The attack has raised questions about favouritism and how roles are assigned.

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