Doctors were battling on Friday to save the eyesight of Sergei Filin, director of ballet at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, after an acid attack on him by a masked man the previous evening.
Russian police said the attacker threw the acid into his face outside his home and ran off.
Newspapers said Mr. Filin, 42, who has run the world’s biggest and most prestigious ballet company since 2011, suffered serious injury to his eyes and the skin of his head.
They said friends of Filin and detectives suspected the attack reflected resentments over power or casting decisions at the Bolshoi, which employs 200 dancers and is the home of classical ballet.
Mr. Filin, who is married with children, is one of the world’s top male dancers.
“He has faced constant threats since taking the job,” said Bolshoi spokeswoman Katya Novikova. “But we never thought that fights about casting decisions could descend to such a criminal level.” Colleagues of Mr. Filin said his website had been hacked into recently and strewn with insults. The tyres of his car had been slashed in the past.
The reports said top Moscow specialists were treating the damage to his eyes and expected his recovery to take at least half a year.