Fled … Svetlana Lunkina, one of Russia's best known ballerinas, has been allowed extended leave. Photo: AFP
MOSCOW: One of the Bolshoi ballet's best known ballerinas has fled to Canada after receiving threats as the chief of the troubled company prepares to leave for Germany to receive treatment after an acid attack.
Svetlana Lunkina told the Izvestia daily she had taken leave until the end of the season over troubles stemming from a business dispute over a film in which her husband was involved.
Lunkina said she had already been outside Russia for about six months and that there was no clear link between her problems and the acid attack this month on the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin.
Attacked ... Sergei Filin suffered third-degree burns to his face, head and eyes when a masked man cornered him near his house in central Moscow and threw acid in his face. Photo: AFP
Nevertheless, the flight of such a high-profile figure underlines the tense atmosphere at the Bolshoi after the attack on Filin, which management blames on internal conflicts.
''I think we need to react to these threats. These people have no right to interfere in our private lives or my professional work,'' Lunkina told Izvestia without making clear the nature of the threats.
Lunkina, with the Bolshoi since 1997, is one of the company's most experienced stars and was to appear this year in a new work by the British choreographer Wayne McGregor.
''I was supposed to be doing a lot of interesting work, including several premieres,'' she said.
Having wowed the public in the Bolshoi's landmark 2011 staging of McGregor's Chroma, Lunkina was expected to take a leading role in his eagerly anticipated new version of the Rite of Spring.
Her prolonged absence from the Bolshoi had already puzzled fans, who initially suspected she had suffered an injury. But rumours spread that she was no longer in Russia.
Ms Lunkina said the threats were linked to a film project that her husband, the producer Vladislav Moskalyev, had been working on featuring the great Russian imperial ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya.
Mr Moskalyev was dropped from the project after he fell out with his business partner, who is now suing him for $US3.7 million ($A3.57 million).
The Bolshoi's spokeswoman Katerina Novikova confirmed to Izvestia that Lunkina had requested leave and it had been approved. She said it was unclear how the company could help given that the dispute was linked to her husband's work.
''Anna Pavlova also left Russia because of the activities of her husband,'' Ms Novikova claimed, referring to the great Russian ballerina who quit her homeland in the early 20th century.
Filin, 42, has had several operations to save his eyesight and repair disfigurement suffered after a masked attacker threw acid into his face and eyes on January 17.
Russia's chief eye doctor, Vladimir Neroyev, told the RIA Novosti news agency that Filin, an acclaimed former dancer, would be sent to a clinic in the German city of Aachen.
Lunkina told Izvestia she believed his attacker ''may not be someone who works at the Bolshoi theatre but someone linked to the theatre and ballet''.