Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fearful Russian ballerina won't return to Bolshoi

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TORONTO -- A Russian ballerina with the famed Bolshoi Theatre has told a local newspaper that she's decided against returning home from Canada because she fears for her safety.

Svetlana Lunkina tells the Izvestia daily in a story published today that she was receiving threats and facing blackmail.

The 33-year-old ballerina -- who's been in Canada for the last six months -- did not elaborate on the nature of the threats.

Lunkina registered a dance studio last October in Kleinberg, Ont., and will be teaching at a Toronto studio for a month starting Friday.

Kevin Pugh, artistic director with Dance Teq, says he met Lunkina when he visited the studio last fall.

He says the Russian ballerina is a permanent resident and has her work permit.

Lunkina danced in Toronto in a Canadian Ballet Theatre production of Giselle in 2007.

She was due to take a starring role in a new version of the Rite of Spring at the Bolshoi this year.

The Izvestia report comes after an acid attack on the Bolshoi's chief last week that left his face burned.

The Bolshoi is best known for Swan Lake and the other grand classical ballets.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2013 D2

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