Soviet Dancer Missing From Troupe
DALLAS (AP) _ A lead dancer in the Moscow Ballet disappeared following the last of the troupe’s three performances here, but the FBI declined to comment Friday on whether he had defected.
Police received reports that Andrey Ustinov was missing Thursday evening.
″All I can tell you is the FBI knows his whereabouts and he is safe,″ police Sgt. R.S. Kendall said Friday.
FBI special agent Woody Specht said he could not comment on whether the dancer had defected.
In Washington, State Department deputy spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said the department has been contacted by the Soviet Embassy about Ustinov’s disappearence. She said she could not confirm or deny reports that he is missing.
The police report listed a man named Robert Harringer as the person reporting Ustinov’s disappearance. Harringer, who would not identify his connection with the ballet troupe, at first denied knowledge of the report but later said, ″All we’re doing is just looking for someone who is missing. That’s all there is to it.″
The young, blond Ustinov is a member of Kirov, based in Leningrad, considered one of the Soviet Union’s finest dance troupes. He danced only one solo role in Dallas, the pas de deux in ″Paquita.″
David Hermon, a California-based producer of the Moscow Ballet’s 21-city U.S. tour, said he had no knowledge of Ustinov’s reported disappearance.
The troupe arrived in Portland, Ore., on Friday morning and leaders of the group asked that reporters and photographers be barred from the hotel where they were staying.
″We won’t be making any statements. ... but nothing will be changed,″ said Jan Urdzik, an American spokeswoman for the troupe. ″The show will go on.″
The Moscow Ballet is in the midst of a two-month tour, its first in the United States. The company performed in Dallas on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Ustinov, whose name has appeared above the corps dancers on the ballet’s programs, was not listed as a featured performer in Thursday’s program.