Peter Martins. Photo by Adam Shankbone, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

NYCB’s Investigation Does Not Corroborate Sexual Harassment Claims Against Peter Martins

The New York Times reports that a two-month long investigation into sexual harassment and physical abuse allegations against Peter Martins, New York City Ballet's former ballet master in chief, has found that the accusations could not be corroborated. In December, an anonymous letter sent to NYCB and its affiliated School of American Ballet accused Martins of sexual harassment, although the claims were non-specific. Afterwards, several former dancers and one current company member came forward to the press accusing him of physical assault and verbal abuse. Martins, who directed the company for 35 years and has denied the accusations, retired on New Year's Day after taking a leave of absence. An interim team led by ballet master Jonathan Stafford has been overseeing the company in the meantime.


According to the Times, 77 current and former dancers, as well as other individuals, were interviewed over the course of the investigation, which was led by Barbara Hoey of the firm Kelley Drye and Warren LLP. (The report will not be made public.)

Despite the investigation's findings, NYCB and SAB said in a statement that they would both be implementing new policies to ensure that its dancers feel safe and can openly express their opinions and concerns. And I think, more than anything, this is the biggest change we need in the broader dance community. The shake-up at NYCB has caused the dance world to take a hard look at its culture, especially in regards to the power dynamics between dancers and management. (In recent weeks, English National Ballet has been embroiled in its own scandal, and all of the dancers who have spoken out have reportedly been too afraid to identify themselves.) In the historically demanding business of ballet, which requires high standards and extraordinary discipline, critical feedback is normal and necessary. But at what point does it become a hostile work environment—and where can dancers turn if it does?

In a statement given through his lawyer, Martins expressed that he was "gratified for the conclusions." Response from others close to the investigation have been mixed. The Times notes that in follow-up interviews, former NYCB dancer Kelly Cass-Boal and former SAB student Victor Jordan Ostrovsky—both of whom told stories of physical abuse by Martins—felt that Hoey was skeptical of their accusations during interviews and more concerned with protecting NYCB. Several current dancers, on the other hand, have been openly supportive of Martins' innocence throughout the investigation. "This is what I thought would happen," principal dancer Megan Fairchild told the Times regarding the outcome, "because that's the experience I had, so I'm not surprised at all."

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Robert Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks