A Former SAB Student is Suing NYCB for Creating A "Frat-Like" Environment

Chase Finlay in Balanchine's Apollo. Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Former School of American Ballet student Alexandra Waterbury, 19, is suing New York City Ballet and her ex-boyfriend, former principal dancer Chase Finlay.

Finlay resigned suddenly last week, and principals Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro were put on unpaid leave for the remainder of 2018 because of "inappropriate communications" of a "personal nature."


Waterbury's lawsuit, as reported by Gothamist and the New York Post, reveals what some of those communications might have been. Waterbury claims that, without her consent, Finlay took photos and videos of her while she was naked or engaged in sexual activities, and shared them with company members, donors and a pimp. Finlay allegedly started a group chat with male colleagues where they share explicit images and videos of Waterbury and other female dancers. The lawsuit also includes a conversation where a company donor suggested they "violate" female dancers and "abuse them like farm animals."

Waterbury is accusing NYCB of sending messages "to Mr. Finlay and other NYC Ballet Inc. male dancers and others that it was acceptable to NYC Ballet Inc. to abuse substances and degrade, demean, dehumanize, and sexually abuse, assault and batter women." She alleges that after the company was fined $150,000 after Finlay and other company members destroyed a hotel room while on tour in Washington, D.C., they were told by leadership that if they were to continue such behavior to "just make sure it occurs in New York City." The suit also says that the company allowed a male principal to return to work a week after the police had been called for a domestic violence incident. Waterbury is suing for intentional affliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.

This comes just months after an investigation was unable to corroborate claims of harassment and abuse against former ballet master in chief Peter Martins, who resigned in January.

Just for fun
Via @lizzo on Twitter

On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded which responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.

Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

French ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire first gained fame when she premiered the titular title role in Roland Petit's Carmen in 1949, opposite Petit as Carmen's lover Don José. With her famously cropped hair (and cropped tutu!), Jeanmaire's performance as the seductive gypsy took the world by storm, catapulting her and Petit's careers.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways
Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
Keep reading... Show less