The dancer as Ivan the Terrible.
In street clothes, he looks like a lawless Birmingham punk rocker. In costume at the Balshoi, above, he excelled as Ivan the Terrible, among other notorious roles. He is famed for dancing down the dark side.
And now he is behind bars -- gaze into this killer's eyes, and decide for yourself -- he, one Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, is charged with organizing a near-blinding assault of acid into the handsome face of Bolshoi Artistic Director Sergei Filin. Doctors are fighting to save at least partial vision for Filin.
The villainous attack -- which will one day likely become the libretto for an opera or ballet -- rocked the ballet world, though it did not shock seasoned insiders, privy to intense rivalries behind the magic-tragic curtain. And to think how lushly lovely they all looked when, back in 1979 while researching my book on the Soviet Circus scene, I was taken to a performance at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. Like a water color come to life, that fluid, that perfect.
On the CBS Evening News tonight, the motive points to Pavel's wanting to get even for his girlfriend, another dancer, having been overlooked for a recent role, the alleged reason being that she was "too fat."
Looking at her in motion, I had to laugh at such an assertion. And, another thing: Who said all male ballet dancers were gay? Not quite in Russia. So, we can now agree that we have one? I never bought the claim, not on the Russia side.
Earlier reports surmised the attack to be motivated out of jealousy by a Russian dancer (not sure if it was Ivan) losing out to a role handed, instead, to an American import.
Right now, I am not feeling so sacredly reverential to this bloody troupe. Russia: what is it about the place? Are the people really that cold? Recently, I watched a well reviewed movie, Elena, in which a basic heartlessness pervades the lives of virtually all the characters. So utterly dismal.
PS. Please, everybody, don't give out my e-mail to Ivan the Terrible. We have enough loose cannons on the lose here in Oakland, though not exactly where I live, but, thank God, the city has finally said yes to purchasing on-the-scene advice and assistance from genius top cop, Lord William Bratton of New York, and already, crime is down.