Russian prima ballerina quits Bolshoi Ballet over Ukraine conflict

Russian prima ballerina Olga Smirnova has quit the famous Bolshoi Ballet in protest over the Ukraine invasion

Bolshoi Ballet prima ballerina Olga Smirnova has left the famous Russian company to join the Dutch National Ballet. Her decision comes shortly after she dancer spoke out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine which, as confirmed by the Dutch Ballet, “makes it untenable for her to continue working in Russia, and makes artistic collaborations in the world of dance impossible”.

Víctor Caixeta, the Brazilian dancer, who is the second soloist of the Saint Petersburg Marijinski Ballet, will also join the Dutch company.

“I have to be honest and say that I am against this war with all my heart. I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia. I have always been proud of the sheer amount of talent our country has, and our cultural and athletic achievements”, explained the Bolshoi dancer, in a message released on Telegram today, Thursday, March 17, by the Dutch company.

“It is very painful to hear that people are dying, losing or abandoning their homes”, she stated, adding, “who would have thought a few weeks ago that all this would happen. Even if you are not at the epicentre of the conflict, you cannot close your eyes to such a global catastrophe”.

“The war makes it seem that we live in the 20th century instead of the 21st century, in our modern and enlightened world I would expect that advanced societies can solve their political problems through peaceful negotiations”, concluded the Russian dancer, who has a Ukrainian grandfather.

The Dutch National Ballet “is a great place” for Smirnovato to continue her work as a dancer. She revealed that she had been working on this step for some time, which “has only gained enormous momentum due to circumstances”.

In her first role with the Dutch National Ballet, Smirnova will dance in some of the performances of the latest ballet classic Raymonda, which opens on April 3, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at