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Ballerina, war critic Smirnova quits Bolshoi to join Dutch national ballet

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Russian prima ballerina Olga Smirnova, a critic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has quit the Bolshoi and will join the Dutch National Ballet, the Dutch organization said on Wednesday.

“It is a privilege to have her dance with our company in the Netherlands — even if the circumstances that drove this move are incredibly sad,” said Dutch National Ballet Director Ted Brandsen in a statement.

Smirnova, 30, left Russia in March. In a statement on her Telegram account republished by the Dutch dance troupe she said she was “against war with all the fibres of my soul.”

“I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia, I have always been proud of talented Russian people, of our cultural and athletic achievements,” she wrote. “But now I feel that a line has been drawn.”

Smirnova is now physically in the Netherlands, a spokesperson for the ballet confirmed.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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