Famous Russian ballerina quits dance company

March 18, 2022

I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia … But now I feel that a line has been drawn that separates the before and the after.

Olga Smirnova, a well-known Russian ballerina, on why she chose to quit her Russian dance company and move to an Amsterdam-based company.
  • Olga Smirnova, a famous Russian ballerina known for her lead roles in “Swan Lake” and “Giselle,” has quit Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet and signed on with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.
  • She said she chose to leave because she is “against war with all the fibers of my soul … We may not be at the epicenter of the military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe.”
  • Other top-level Bolshoi members have also quit the Moscow-based company, which is considered one of Russia’s oldest and most prestigious cultural institutions.

Why It Matters: The Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasingly impacting the Russian art, dance, and culture scene. Major opera houses around the world also have begun cancelling planned performances featuring the Bolshoi, citing that they are unable to work with anyone who supports Russian President Vladimir Putin.

We cannot remain indifferent’: Russian star ballerina Olga Smirnova quits Bolshoi Ballet

by Jenna Lee,