Russian Ballet Featuring Czar in Tights Draws Protests

Classic Arts News   Russian Ballet Featuring Czar in Tights Draws Protests
 
Members of a Russian Orthodox church in the city of Yekaterinburg have demanded that performances of the ballet Rasputin be canceled, the Associated Press reports.

The ballet, which premiered last year in St. Petersburg, features a dancer wearing tights playing Czar Nicholas II. Members of the Church of Spilled Blood say the portrayal is blasphemous.

The church is built on the site where the czar and his family were slaughtered by Bolsheviks in 1918.

The Russian Orthodox Church has declared the czar a saint. Maksim Menyailo, a priest, said, "In czarist Russia, it was not permitted even to show the images of saints on the stage."

"Czar Nicholas was a martyr," added Dmitry Baibakov, a synod official. "He is not dancing in a czar's costume, but in tights. Is it necessary to make fun of saints?"

Despite the protests, the theater will not cancel the production. Galina Pisulina, director of Kosmos, the theater that plans to show the ballet, said, "If people don't like this, they don't have to watch." According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Pisulina asked the city's critics to watch footage of the ballet, and they all agreed it was neither sacrilegious nor shocking.

According to RIA Novosti, the Yekaterinburg diocese, located in the Urals, is very conservative; the clergy there has banned women from wearing makeup or trousers, asked the pious not to watch television, and denounced people who accidentally drop kopeks, which represent St. George.

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