Liam Scarlett in rehearsal for The Age of Anxiety in 2014. Bill Cooper, Courtesy The Royal Ballet.

Liam Scarlett Suspended From The Royal Ballet Over Claims of Inappropriate Behavior with Students

Yesterday The Times reported that Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett has been suspended from the company since last August, following allegations of inappropriate behavior with students. The company brought in the employment firm Linda Harvey Associates to conduct an independent investigation, which is still underway. No findings have yet been made against Scarlett.

Australia's Queensland Ballet, where Scarlett is artistic associate, has also suspended its relationship with the choreographer, and San Francisco Ballet just announced that they're replacing Scarlett's Hummingbird in the company's February program.


A former Royal Ballet School student told The Times that Scarlett encouraged him to send him an intimate photograph, and that Scarlett had shared sexual messages with at least 10 male students via Facebook. Scarlett is also being accused of commenting on dancers' genitalia, touching their backsides and walking in on them changing. "As a dancer you are trained to say yes to everything," the former student told The Times. "Because it's so competitive you can't lose an opportunity, so when someone with a lot of power asks you to do something you are pre-programmed to do it."

Scarlett, 33, graduated from the Royal Ballet School in 2005, where he won several choreographic awards. He joined the company the same year, and was promoted to first artist in 2008. In 2012, he stepped back from dancing to become The Royal Ballet's first artist in residence, and in 2014 he became the youngest choreographer to create a full-length ballet on the company with the debut of his Frankenstein. In recent years he's been celebrated for his new production of Swan Lake and work on Disney's The Nutcracker & The Four Realms. According to The Guardian, rehearsals for Scarlett's new production of Oklahoma were postponed in August, at the time that the inquiry was opened. The company said the change in programming was due to a scheduling conflict.

Scarlett is the next in what is becoming a long list of dancers, choreographers and directors in the ballet world accused of sexual misconduct since the start of the #MeToo movement. Court proceedings for Alexandra Waterbury's lawsuit against New York City Ballet, former NYCB principals Chase Finlay and Zachary Catazaro, current NYCB principal Amar Ramasar, NYCB donor Jared Longhitano and the School of American Ballet are currently underway. Earlier this week protestors rallied against Ramasar's casting in the West Side Story Broadway revival; a Change.org petition to remove Ramasar from the stage has already gathered nearly 24,000 signatures. This news followed in the wake of Peter Martins' retirement as NYCB's ballet master in chief amid sexual misconduct allegations, and former American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes' resignation after an allegation of sexual misconduct. We'll continue to keep you updated as more of Scarlett's story is revealed in the coming days.



Latest Posts


Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Pirouettes on Pointe?

I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby

Keep reading SHOW LESS
xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks