The classic arts world continues to respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment as two dance companies look into accusations against a storied leader in the field.
Ballet Master in Chief of New York City Ballet and Artistic Director/Chariman of the Faculty for the School of American Ballet Peter Martins is the focus of a joint investigation between the two organizations after they received an anonymous letter containing sexual harassment allegations, according to the New York Times.
As the two look into the accusations, Martins will not teach his weekly class at the School of American Ballet. “The safety and well-being of our students is our absolute priority,” said the school—the official school of NYCB—in a statement.
The investigation will be led by Barbara Hoey of Kelley Dyre’s labor and employment practice.
Though the details of the anonymous allegations are non-specific, multiple dancers and students disclosed to the Times the understanding within the community that Martins would sleep with dancers, with some in turn receiving more prominent roles.
Martins served as co-ballet master in chief with Jerome Robbins in 1983, assuming the role solely in 1990. He started with the company as a principal dancer in 1970.
The news follows the recent suspension of another prominent figure of Lincoln Center: Metropolitan Opera Music Director Emeritus James Levine. Sexual abuse allegations against the conductor, detailed in a 2016 police report, were made public over the weekend, with the Met cutting ties after two more men came forward with similar stories.