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Trouble at the Bolshoi

A new documentary about the acid attack on Sergei Filin shows that Black Swan has nothing on real-life ballet dramas

By Neil Norman  
Stars of the Russian Bolshoi ballet in action © HBO

Stars of the Russian Bolshoi ballet in action © HBO

It was like a scene from The Phantom of the Opera: a tale of high art, jealousy and violence. In January 2013, the artistic director of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet entered his home and had acid thrown in his face. Few people outside the rarefied world of ballet knew of Sergei Filin before the attack, but many more knew his name afterwards.

The Bolshoi is the most famous ballet company in the…

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