Alexander Godunov is scheduled to appear at the Berlin Opera Ballet in West Berlin tonight, his first public performance since he defected last August. The former Bolshoi dancer is expected to return to the United States to rejoin the American Ballet Theatre for its cross-country tour, which begins next month.
His attorney, Orville Schell, said last night, "He hopes to come back here and dance with ABT, and I think they are quite anxious to have him."
After Godunov's defection, he signed a contract with ABT but resigned from the company after ABT's management locked out the dancers. At that time, Godunov said he feared that his alleged compensation had become an issue in the labor dispute -- with the dancers charging that ABT subsidized its superstars by paying the rest of its dancers "breadline wages."
Godunov had been plagued by apparent difficulties in seeking, securing and deciding upon various dance engagements throughout the U.S. and Western Europe, and had parted company with his manager in a dispute over such guest appearances.
Meanwhile, Gelsey Kirkland, a ballerina formerly with ABT denied the company's claim that she had "withdrawn from her agreement" to dance with ABT during its upcoming tour. "I never signed a contract," Kirkland stated, saying that she disagreed with ABT's management over casting, scheduling and her partners and that she did not expect to return to the company.
Speaking of her departure from ABT, she said, "For now, it's very final. I'm making arrangements to dance someplace else." She declined to elaborate.