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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Russia to shoot its own, best, foot

The Russian government announced earlier this spring that it plans to end the historic exemption of its best ballet dancers from military service. The government is now asking that ballet dancers begin serving one year when drafted. The institutions of the country’s major ballet companies have reacted strongly, understandably with much outrage and fear. An article in today’s St. Petersburg Times shows the turmoil,
Denis Savin, 22, is one of the Bolshoi Theater ballet’s rising stars, with several solo parts and a prestigious Golden Mask Award nomination to his name. By the ripe old age of 24, if the army has its way, his career at Moscow’s premier opera and ballet company could end. The bill is part of the Defense Ministry’s effort to expand its pool of eligible draftees by 2008, when mandatory service will be cut to one year from two years. “For an artist, a year off is equivalent to death,” said Savin, who said ballet dancers needed three weeks to get back in shape after being sick for a week. “It’s goodbye, being in shape; goodbye, professional qualifications.
For more on Russia, head over to Leigh Witchel's blog. He's there visiting now.

For the full St. Petersburg Times article, click here

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is crazy. I cannot imagine having to take a year off so I can perform military duties. We would no longer have and ballet in Russia!

10:16 AM  

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