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Paris Opera Ballet Dancers Complain of Harassment and Bad Management

Paris Opera Ballet Dancers Complain of Harassment and Bad Management


These accusations come in a tense climate for the ballet world, which has not remained immune to the #MeToo movement. In December, Peter Martins retired from his position as ballet master in chief of the New York City Ballet, following allegations of abuse and harassment; after an investigation, the company said the accusations were not corroborated. Tamara Rojo, the director of the English National Ballet, has been the subject of scrutiny over her relationship with a company dancer. And in March, Kenneth Greve, the director of the Finnish National Ballet, was removed from a managerial position after accusations from the dancers of inappropriate conduct.

Stéphane Lissner, the director of the Paris Opera, said in an interview with Le Monde that he knew of three cases of sexual harassment since Ms. Dupont was appointed in 2016, after the resignation of Benjamin Millepied, the former New York City Ballet principal whose attempts to modernize aspects of the Paris Opera Ballet met with controversy and widespread internal resistance. Two of the harassment cases, Mr. Lissner said, had led to the perpetrators being fired and a third was still being investigated. “There is zero tolerance,” he said.

But 87 percent of the respondents said that the procedures to follow in the case of harassment were not sufficiently clear or private enough to encourage reporting such incidents.

Racism was not specifically addressed on the questionnaire, which had queries about issues like artistic policy, the quality of the cafeteria food and the cleanliness of the bathrooms. (An overwhelming thumbs down on the last two counts.) But two dancers mention the frequency of casually racist remarks in sections in which they are asked for additional thoughts.

Issues of racism and diversity were highlighted by Mr. Millepied during his tenure, although Mr. Lissner denied there was any prejudice within the company.

“We will of course reflect on the organization and the reason for these tensions,” he told Le Monde, adding that Ms. Dupont had maintained “a high artistic level” and that subscription audiences had increased by 7 percent.

None of the dancers contacted for comment would speak on the record. Ms. Dupont, who was to hold a meeting with the dancers on Wednesday, did not respond to a request for an interview.



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