By Ashifa Kassam
1 September 2018
From a small dance company on the prairies of Canada it grew into one of the country’s most prestigious cultural institutions – gaining international prominence as the first ballet in the Commonwealth to receive the royal charter from the Queen.
Now, however, the spotlight is on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for other reasons, after an Ontario court gave the go-ahead to a class-action lawsuit alleging that a former instructor pressurised students – many of them underage – to pose for semi-nude or nude photographs and later may have sold some of the pictures online.
The allegations are connected to the ballet’s school, which recruits and trains aspiring dancers from across Canada and around the world.
After years of whispers, former students began speaking out in 2012; media picked up on the story three years later. The allegations span nearly 30 years and show a pattern: accusing an instructor who doubled as the ballet’s photographer of cajoling them into taking off their clothes so that he could photograph them in various stages of undress or in sexually provocative positions.
Read the full article in The Guardian.