Bolshoi appoints top ballerina acting chief after attack



Moscow: Russia's Bolshoi ballet on Tuesday appointed one of its most experienced ballerinas as its acting chief after last week's horrific acid attack on the theatre's artistic director Sergei Filin. The Bolshoi's board of directors and Russia's culture ministry agreed to tap veteran ballerina Galina Stepanenko as its acting artistic director, the Bolshoi said.

It did not say how long Stepanenko would hold the post while Filin -- who is undergoing operations on his eyes and skin -- tries to recover. "We are all shattered by what happened and it is not easy for us. We need to be together and keep working," Stepanenko said alongside the Bolshoi's general director Anatoly Iksanov as her appointment was announced. "I wish Sergei a speedy recovery and return, but for now I am ready to help. And I ask you to help me so we can get through this difficult period," she said in comments broadcast on state television.

Stepanenko, 46, is a stalwart of the Bolshoi who, since first joining the company in 1990, has danced all the great ballerina roles in the classical repertoire. She has been honoured with the country's highest award for cultural figures, being named a People's Artist of Russia.

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