× Choreographer Nick Lazzarini pulled from dance company tour following Star investigation
CNN and The New York Times have compiled a year’s worth of allegations against the first black woman to lead an American dance company, the esteemed George Balanchine. George Balanchine International Ballet Theatre (GBTB) – a dance group founded in 1986 by dancer and choreographer Nick Lazzarini – is currently on a tour with Balanchine’s brand new ballet “Starlet” being part of its program.
After Balanchine International Ballet Theatre announced Monday that an internal investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against the choreographer and retired dancer, Lazzarini has been removed from the tour to allow the company to evaluate the situation and “fully accept” the findings of the internal investigation.
GBTB artistic director James Canfield issued a statement on Monday saying “I deeply regret this decision, and deeply regret the impact it will have on the dancers that will be performing this season,”
GBTB sent the following statement to their Facebook page:
“We are deeply saddened by this decision and we will work with our dancers to fully support and nurture them through this difficult experience.
“Nick Lazzarini is an integral part of the GBTB family. His contributions to this company are of the utmost importance.”
At the same time, Lazzarini said in a statement that he would be “glad to talk to the dancers about the issues they feel,” and again denied the allegations.
“I have not committed a single act of sexual misconduct during my three decades in the New York City Ballet community and among professional dance companies,” Lazzarini said. “My behavior has always been professional and respectful towards all dancers.”
In late August, the New York Times published allegations against Balanchine, who died in 1990, of inappropriate physical contact and sexual harassment by former male dancers and dancers alike. One former dancer who was married to a Balanchine associate said he witnessed Balanchine snidely commenting on the acting ability of a student, tipping her off that she might not be cut out for the profession. Another former dancer, Kent Stowell, said he was harassed for nine years by an ex-director. Balanchine’s son, Alexander Balanchine, denied the claims. The findings of the internal investigation are scheduled to be made public this Thursday.