20 July 2020
Troy Powell has been removed from his position as Artistic Director of Ailey II following an independent investigation into alleged acts of sexual misconduct. This investigation was launched in early June after two videos accusing Powell of inappropriate behavior were posted on TikTok, the popular video sharing app.
The first video involved dancers dropping scraps of paper as a message appeared: “When you wanna be in Ailey II. But guys gotta sleep with Troy Powell.” The second video involved an unidentified dancer accusing the Ailey organization of housing a known sexual predator. After these videos were removed from TikTok, the Ailey organization placed Powell on leave of absence. His name and most-recently choreographed ballet were also stricken from Ailey’s June 11th Virtual Spirit Gala. The gala was an online substitute for the company’s traditional spring gala event, which Powell choreographed last year using students from the Ailey School.
Online outrage to the allegations included denouncements from Ryan Houston, a former apprentice with Ailey II—who urged dancers via an Instagram post to speak up about their experiences with Powell—and from Addison Ector, a former student of the Ailey School and soloist with Complexions Ballet.
In an Instagram video that was posted on June 29, Ector alleged that during his time as a student at the Ailey School, Powell sent him a text message containing an inappropriate photo of his anatomy. In Ector’s recollection, he was interrogated about the incident by a male director of the Ailey School. After being asked if Powell’s face was in the picture—it was not—Ector stated that he was told, “Well we can’t really confirm that it was him or not.” A Title XI investigation was not launched on Ector’s behalf. Instead, he continued to interact with Powell during the remainder of his time as a student.
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