It’s been two months since former New York City Ballet Director Peter Martins was accused of sexual and physical misconduct by several formers dancers. Martins retired last month, and NYCB announced they would conduct a full investigation into Martins and his conduct during his time as director.
Last Thursday, the company shared the results of the investigation (based on interviews with 77 current and former dancers), saying that their research did not corroborate any of the allegations. Essentially: they could not find evidence that supported the dancer’s claims. However, the organization did announce that they would be implementing new policies, both in the company and in the school, to make sure that dancers can voice their thoughts and concerns in a safe space. The full report will not be released to the public.
There were a variety of reactions by dancers when the announcement first broke. Some spoke out, saying they had also seen and experienced similar harassment; many other dancers came forward on social media expressing their support for Martins, saying that they did not believe he would do such a thing.
The news regarding the results of the investigation seems to be similarly divisive. Supporters will certainly upset that Martins was pressured to resign when he was seemingly innocent. However, others are angry, saying they feel the investigation was a sham. Former NYCB dancer Kelly Cass Boal spoke to the New York Times, expressing her belief that the investigation was purposefully protecting Martins and others within the management.
Martins made the following statement: “I retired to allow those glorious institutions to move past the turmoil that resulted from these charges. It is my hope that, with the investigation concluded, they can refocus, without distraction, on their roles as the world’s pre-eminent ballet company and school.”
Photo: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times