RUSSIA

Was This Russian Ballet Cancelled Because of Homophobia?

Jul 13, 2017 at 1:38 PM ET

Did the Russian government cancel a ballet because of homophobia?

The Bolshoi Ballet, Russia’s most prestigious ballet company, just announced a postponement of its upcoming show based on the life of Rudolf Nureyev, a famous dancer who fled the Soviet Union and later died of complications related to AIDS in 1993.

Since its inception, the Bolshoi has been considered controversial among Russian nationalists. For instance, a leaked rehearsal video showing male dancers in high-heels provoked outrage.

The Bolshoi denies that the postponement is due to the piece’s subject matter, and insists the cast was simply behind in their rehearsal process. But many feel the company has caved to government pressure, specifically a 2013 law banning anything that could be seen as “gay propaganda.”