The Star Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky on Russia’s Cultural War


Alexei Ratmansky was scrolling through social media recently when he came across a startling post.

A video showed rehearsals from a production of “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, that Ratmansky, the renowned ballet choreographer, had worked on before Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

Ratmansky had severed ties with the Mariinsky at the start of the war. But the video suggested that the company was still using some of his choreography, though his name had been removed from the production, a version of the 19th-century ballet by Marius Petipa.

Ratmansky, who is of mixed Russian and Ukrainian descent and grew up in Kyiv, posted a statement on social media last month calling the episode “the most painful professional experience in my life.” He accused the artistic team that replaced him, including the Italian choreographer Toni Candeloro, of choosing “to become tools of Putin’s…

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