Bolshoi dancer keeps Stephen Colbert on his toes

David Hallberg had to know that Stephen Colbert would brand him a traitor. When the dancer — the first American to join the Russian Bolshoi Ballet — went on “The Colbert Report” last night, he got a proper grilling from the partiotic host. Our colleague, dance critic Sarah Kaufman, who wrote about Hallberg when he joined the company, tipped us off to the funny clip.

David Hallberg in Tchaikovsky's "The Sleeping Beauty." (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

“American’s don’t defect to go to the Bolshoi,” Colbert said. “The Ruskis defect to come here. Nureyev did it 50 years ago. Why are you trying to lose us the Cold War?”

“Stephen, the Cold War’s over,” replied Hallberg.

“Uh, it was, until you did this,” Colbert said. “Then you handed them a victory.”

Hallberg, who will perform at the Kennedy Center n Dec. 11 in “The Nutcracker,” was then called a “Benedict Arnold in slightly tighter pants.” But he got his revenge on Colbert when he trounced him in a dance-off — and looked better in tights than Colbert did, too. See the performance here:

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.


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