I thought the US was the only place that was extremely prudish about nudity, but a friend in Austria just sent me an article from the newspaper there which shows that it's still an issue in Austria as well, though the public is in an uproar about what happened there. Here's the link to the article in German with my translation:
Karina Sarkissova dances no more... (updated)
... at least not at the Viennese Opera. It was there that the Primaballerina was relieved of her duties by the newly appointed Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris.
Critical to his decision, according to Sarkissova, were the artistic/erotic photographs taken by Moritz Schell of the
September-Wiener which appeared on August 16, 2010.
We find that to be quite prudish and unworthy of a cultural institution.
Apparently in May 2010 Sarkissova had been "warned" by the then-Chief of Ballet Gyula Harangozo on account of nude photos of her which appeared in the June edition of the magazine
According to the Director of the Opera Dominique Meyer, the company was "shocked" to see the new photographs which appeared under the heading "Sex." In response to the question by the WIENER reporter why it was a problem to appear in nude photos in a magazine when nude dances were performed on the stage of the international Opera House, the director responded, "No comment."
One other aspect makes this prudish behavior seem even more incongruous: the very same Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris, who let Sarkissova go, posed naked as a jay bird for a series of photos (see left) - in which men and women were cavorting wildly with one another. Apparently men at the Viennese Opera are allowed more frivolity than women are...
At any rate, the Director of the Opera, Meyer will meet with Sarkissova next week to hear her side of the story.
WIENER- Reporter Barbara Ginzinger recently spoke with Karina Sarkissova by telephone. The Ballerina said that she had NOT been warned after the first photos, neither in writing nor orally.
There had, in fact, been consternation in the Opera and people expressed differing opinions about the photos, but she had not been warned. She hadn't given any thought to it since the new Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris had appeared nude in a series of pictures. "I am not the first and also not the last ballerina to take her clothes off." Additionally Ms. Sarkissova and the ballet ensemble were asked, at the end of the last season, if they would be willing to dance nude, or topless, at the Opera. That is planned for January for the piece "Bella Figura".
About Sarkissova: born in Russia (1983), Sarkissova was trained at the Bolschoi Ballet and in St. Poelten. Since 2000 she has been a member of the State Opera Ballet, since 2009 as a soloist. She is married and has an 8-year-old son.