MOSCOW, November 13 (RAPSI) – American ballet dancer Joy Womak claimed during an interview with  Russian daily Izvestia that employees of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet attempted to extort $10,000 from her for the opportunity to perform on stage.

Joy Womak, 18, is the first American dancer to have been offered a spot with the Bolshoi Theater Ballet Academy.  After graduating in 2012, she was hired by the Bolshoi’s company corps de ballet.

The dancer told Izvestia that after having been hired by the company, she has not been assigned any parts since September 2013, despite constant accolades from the theater’s heads.  Womak said that a “respected” member of the company, whose name she refused to disclose, told her that a payment of $10,000 will help her secure a leading part.

This offer was presented to her after Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi’s artistic director, returned to the theater after undergoing treatment in Germany. Filin suffered third-degree burns to his face and eyes on January 17 when unknown assailants attacked him with what is believed to have been concentrated acid. Shortly after the attack, a Bolshoi Theater spokesperson confirmed that Filin had received various threats.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, Bolshoi’s former leading soloist, is now on trial for masterminding the attack. During the trial, Dmitrichenko accused FIlin of personal bias when giving out parts to the dancers, and hinted at corrupt practices.

Vomak told Izvestia, that Filin’s aide Dilyara Timergazina performed “strange manipulations” with her payment plan. “I was given a contract for September-March period, with a 198,000 ruble salary ($6,000), before a 33% tax deduction. After that I found out that I wasn’t given a VAT identification number, despite the fact that my salary was taxed,” the dancer explained.

Womak added that she was not paid or compensated for a number of performances at all, while told that it will improve her reputation as a dancer. Womak said that Filin’s former deputy Ruslan Pronin was aware of the situation.

All those mentioned by Womak in the Izvestia interview, including Sergei Filin and his representatives, refused to comment on the situation.