Joy Womack quit the Bolshoi a few days ago. For those of you not following this story, Joy Womack was one of the first Americans to graduate from the famed Bolshoi training academy last year. She got a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet shortly afterwards.
Her director Sergei Filin was attacked by a couple of thugs earlier this year who threw acid in his face. He suffered third degree burns and lost the sight in one of his eyes. It was a shocking event not only because of the viciousness of the attack but because it was apparently organized by a dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, in revenge for the poor treatment his girlfriend was getting from Filin. The trial is going on now. Apparently, Dmitrichenko asked the guys he hired to rough Filin up. He never asked for the acid treatment.
Anyway, long story short, this week, Joy alleges that she was told by a higher up in the company that if she wanted to dance a solo she was going for, she’d have to fork over $10K. She didn’t say who asked for the money but it’s interesting to note that Filin is back and 300 Bolshoi dancers have signed a petition in support of Dmitrichenko. Filin, in response to Joy’s resignation, says that she belongs in the Corps. And you know, at her age with her experience, it wouldn’t be strange to find her in the corps. The problem is that she is getting paid very sporadically, if at all, and the terms of her contract are pretty strange. But dancers at the Bolshoi are paid very poorly in general and are encouraged to get “patrons”.
I’m sure that suggestion didn’t go over well with Womack, who calls herself a “dancer for Jesus”. Other than that annoying little tidbit of religious smugness, I think Joy is a talented dancer and Filin’s remarks about her were harsh and unfair.
Here’s an example of Joy’s dancing from her graduation ballet from the Bolshoi, La Fille Mal Gardee (The badly guarded girl). Womack and fellow American Mario Labrador danced the leads. There’s a pretty little pas under an umbrella that starts at minute mark 3:00 that shows Joy off nicely if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing. But if you have time, it’s a nice morning diversion.