MOSCOW - Pavel Dmitrichenko longed to dance star roles at the Bolshoi.
But now the lanky, hollow-eyed dancer has won notoriety as the mastermind of a shocking acid attack on the troupe's powerful artistic director, Sergei Filin, for which he will serve a six-year sentence in a penal colony.
Born to parents who performed with renowned Russian dancer Igor Moiseyev's folk dance troupe, Dmitrichenko, 29, studied dance in Moscow and then joined the Bolshoi.
Last year Dmitrichenko, who then had long platinum-blond hair, told Rossiya 24 television that he was keen on football but his mother insisted on him auditioning for ballet school.
"My mum took me along to the ballet school and told me: 'I'll buy you a Mars bar (they had just appeared) if you do what they tell you," he remembered. "As a result I ended up at ballet school against my will."
He told Kultura channel in 2009 that "they chucked me out of dance school about five times for hooliganism. I threw firecrackers at the teachers".
"They turned a blind eye to my behaviour and let me finish studying," he said, concluding that if it weren't for ballet, the streets would have a "bad influence" on his already rebellious personality.
But ballet took a hold of him and Dmitrichenko spent six years in the Bolshoi's corps de ballet before rising to more prominent roles, becoming a leading soloist - one rank down from the principal dancers who are the top stars.
Dmitrichenko specialised in dramatic villainous roles such as Ivan the Terrible and the Evil Genius in Swan Lake. In 2009, he danced the starring role in "Spartacus".
"The most important thing in theatre are the moments when you are part of history, legends," he told Rossiya 24 in 2012. "That's the best... those small moments that stay in your memory all your life and you can tell your children about."