Bolshoi dancers’ Seoul show canceled amid global cancellations of Russian arts

A gala show in Seoul featuring six principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet was canceled Monday, just one day before it was set to open, amid worldwide cancellations of performances by Russians following the country's invasion of Ukraine. Monday's cancellation was announced by Ballet and Model, the show's organizer, after its proposal for alterations to the show's cast and program was rejected by a concert hall. Originally titled "The Bolshoi Ballet Gala Concert 2024 in Seoul," the event was slated to run from Tuesday to Thursday at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, boasting a lineup of 20 dancers, including 12 principal performers from the Bolshoi Ballet. However, the show faced mounting pressure for cancellation in South Korea, particularly after the recent cancellation of a performance by Russia's star ballerina, Svetlana Zakharova, due to public backlash over performances by individuals perceived as supportive of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Following the cancellation, B allet and Model announced plans to press ahead with the show featuring Bolshoi Ballet dancers under the new title "Super Ballet Concert of Ballet and Model 2024 in Seoul," albeit with a reduced cast and program. The company explained that the proposed changes were aimed at ensuring a top-tier performance featuring only the most elite members of the ballet troupe, a decision influenced by the fallout from Zakharova's canceled appearance. However, the Sejong art center declined to approve the alterations Friday, citing concerns over the extent of the modifications. It added it would not have granted initial approval for the performance if the program had been presented in its current form. The move came as many Russian concerts, dance recitals and exhibitions have been postponed indefinitely across the world due to public backlash against staging shows by Russian artists, especially as the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv unfolds. The Russian Embassy in Seoul expressed "deep regret" in its commentary releas ed Monday over the cancellation of the performance by Bolshoi dancers. Source: Yonhap News Agency