MOSCOW (AFP) – The artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi ballet company, who was victim of a horrific acid attack in January, has for the first time left his clinic in Germany to watch the troupe on tour in London, Russian state television said Tuesday.
Sergei Filin, who suffered severe facial burns and an almost complete loss of eyesight in the January attack, left his clinic in the German city of Aachen to watch a performance by the Bolshoi on its tour at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Channel One television showed Filin with his face largely recovered but still wearing dark sunglasses to protect his injured eyes which still have very limited vision.
"The treatment is continuing. The doctors are doing everything possible," said Filin, a former star dancer known for his elegance and dashing looks.
He said that doctors were now considering treating him outside of hospital as he prepares to return to work in Moscow at the end of September for the company's new season.
"This is the first time that I have allowed myself to leave the clinic for one day and I received a huge boost of energy from this," he added.
"Thanks to every artist and thanks to the company. They are magnificent. I think we can still do many things and achieve even greater results," said Filin.
Bloggers present at the Bolshoi's performance late Monday of George Balanchine's ballet "Jewels" said that Filin was led out on stage after the performance by the principal dancers and given a huge ovation by the London audience.
The trip is the first time Filin has left the clinic in Aachen since he arrived there in February in the wake of the attack in mid-January.
A leading dancer at the theatre, Pavel Dmitrichenko, has been arrested in Moscow on suspicion of organising the attack. But he denies ever intending the use of acid.
The Bolshoi's residency in London -- which ends in August 17 -- has received hugely positive reviews in a reminder that despite a string of scandals it remains one of the world's great ballet companies.