Bolshoi Ballet director in acid attack

The artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi Theatre is in hospital because someone threw acid in his face. Sergei Filin, 42, was attacked outside his apartment building as he was going home from work. Moscow police say the attacker was wearing a mask and that there were no witnesses. Mr Filin has severe burns on his face and doctors are battling to save his eyesight. A hospital spokesperson said Filin may have to go to a hospital in Belgium for more treatment. The police believe the attacker works for the Bolshoi Ballet. Filin has to make many decisions about who dances and who doesn't. Many performers and staff have criticized him for his tough management style.

The Bolshoi is a world-famous ballet company that was founded in 1776 by Moscow prosecutor Prince Pyotr Urusov. Russia's Empress Catherine II gave the Prince permission to organize theatre performances, masquerades, balls and other forms of entertainment for ten years. It rose to fame in the early 20th century because of the amazing technique and athleticism of its dancers. Today, it is the largest company in the world, with around 220 dancers. Mr Filin became the Bolshoi's principal dancer in 1990 and stayed in the position for nearly two decades. He became the company's artistic director in 2008. He won many awards, including the People's Artist of the Russian Federation award in 2001.