The New York Times just reported that David Hallberg, currently a principal with American Ballet Theatre, just signed a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer for the 2011-2012 season. (The story even made the newspaper's homepage!) Hallberg will be the first American ever to join the Russian company. Read the full story here.
The decision is definitely a bold move by new director Sergei Filin, who held the Bolshoi's first-ever open auditions in June, and says he's open to hiring even more Americans. For all of the scandal this spring that went on over who was going to lead the company, it seems like they've ended up with quite a forward-thinking leader who's unafraid to shake things up a bit. See Pointe's q&a with Filin here (scroll almost all the way down the page). He tells writer Laura Cappelle "I would love to have the best dancers in the world join us. They don’t need to speak Russian already, but they do need to be very well-trained and to know our repertoire"
We're going to miss Hallberg's noble, princely dancing here in New York. Luckily, he still has a few performances left with ABT here in the States over the next year.