US bans two Bolshoi dancers

US bans two Bolshoi dancers


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2018

Prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and soloist Jacopo Tissi have been refused visas to perform at Lincoln Center.

More here.



  • KAREN says:

    “Olga is considered the number one ballerina in the world right now”

    Not even the number one in Moscow…

    “One interpretation is that it’s political. That’s my knee-jerk reaction, but I can’t figure out why — other than that they’re Russian. But it doesn’t make any sense.”

    Jacopo Tissi is Italian. I’m inclined to believe the organizer messed up their paperwork.

  • Richard says:

    This is just so the current administration can say that they have taken action against Russia. Meanwhile oligarchs and the politically connected will continue to suffer no consequences. Gergiev will tour the US later this year.

    • Max Grimm says:

      Considering most in that administration probably think that “the ballet” is a new French restaurant that just opened and both the USA and Russia have better ways of going about their pathetic penis-measuring contests, I doubt the visa refusal was politically motivated.
      From most reports and based on a statement by the Bolshoi itself, it seems that the visa refusal was caused by the wrong paperwork being submitted; although they were set to travel and work as individuals, both had applied for a group/company visa, which as such was denied. There now remains too little time to resubmit for a different visa (one report mentions an average wait of 250 days for the required US visa).
      Considering that anal retentiveness is a universal prerequisite for bureaucrats, I have no doubt that the two wouldn’t have fared much better in most other countries or being from another country.

  • MacroV says:

    I’m not sure if this happened during adjudication of the visa petition at DHS, or during a visa adjudication at an embassy, but either way, it’s most likely a case of the requested visa being the wrong category, and a very working-level officer making that determination. Political-level decisions would generally be very broad – e.g. no Russians, or nobody from a list of Muslim countries – never tied to an individual. Individuals can, however, be declared ineligible for, say, alleged criminality, fraud, security threat, etc.. Seems highly unlikely that would happen with a Russian ballerina, if Russians are otherwise still eligible for visas.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Why aren’t “artists” who are taking work away from Americans being banned?

  • Sue says:

    About time somebody did something about Russia. I was planning to see Gergiev in Europe next year but he can go jump too – like his ballet-dancing contemporaries.

  • MARINA HARSS says:

    Interestingly, a dancer from the Mariinsky, Kimin Kim, was able to come.