Olga Smirnova on Leaving the Bolshoi and Finding a New Home in the Netherlands

For more than a decade, Olga Smirnova was one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s most recognizable faces. The invasion of Ukraine in 2022 changed everything: Smirnova was the only Russian-born principal from the Bolshoi or Mariinsky to leave her country in protest, writing that she was “against war with all the fibers of my soul.”