Italian theater cancels performance of Russian ballet star — RT Games & Culture

The Arcimboldi theater in Milan announced the cancellation of the ballet « Rasputin – Dance Drama, » with Russian dancer Sergei Polunin and scheduled for January 28 and 29, 2023. Originally announced in December 2019, the performance has been postponed several times for various reasons, ranging from Covid-related restrictions to the dancer’s injury, and has now been abandoned for good on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The cancellation was caused by « Pressure on social networks and mobilization of the web in recent weeks against the performance of the artist » the theater said in a statement Friday.

Among other things, the theater faced an online petition against Polunin’s performance, with the motion signed by almost 2,300 people, who condemned the artist and his self-proclaimed « admiration » of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decision to cancel the long-delayed performance « was not a matter of cultural sphere decision, but of social responsibility », highlighted the theater, adding that in a « Climate of tension and threats we find it difficult to perpetuate our artistic choices. »

The theater claimed that it values « pacifism and tolerance », and therefore hosted the Dance for Peace gala, a charity event for Ukraine, in April, as well as a Pussy Riot performance in September. Those who have already purchased tickets for the canceled performance are now eligible for a refund, the theater noted.

Born in Ukraine, Polunin holds several joint Russian-Ukrainian-Serbian nationalities and spent his teenage years at the British Royal Ballet Academy in London. In the early 2010s, the dancer moved to Russia, breaking his ties with the Ukrainian scene and proclaiming his support for Cheese fries.

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