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City Ballet Fires Two Male Dancers Named in Photo Sharing Scandal

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

“We have no higher obligation than to ensure that our dancers and staff have a workplace where they feel respected and valued, and we are committed to providing that environment for all employees of New York City Ballet,” the company’s executive director, Katherine Brown, and the leader of its interim artistic team, Jonathan Stafford, said in a joint statement.

“We will not allow the private actions of a few to undermine the hard work and strength of character that is consistently demonstrated by the other members of our community or the excellence for which the company stands,” they said.

The allegations were detailed earlier this month in a lawsuit filed by Alexandra Waterbury, 20, who had trained for several years at the School of American Ballet, the academy affiliated with City Ballet. The suit was against Mr. Finlay, whom she had dated, and the ballet company, which she accused of condoning a “fraternity-like atmosphere.” The company denied that it condoned such behavior, noting that it had investigated the allegations as soon as it learned of them this summer and penalized the dancers.

In the suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ms. Waterbury accused Mr. Finlay of sending nude photos of her to Mr. Ramasar, and said Mr. Ramasar had sent back an image of a bare-chested “female ballet member.” The suit accused Mr. Catazaro of having exchanged images with Mr. Finlay, but did not specify of what.

Mr. Ramasar, a principal since 2009, was one of the company’s leading lights. Born in the Bronx, he established himself as one of City Ballet’s most dynamic, charismatic presences in the core Balanchine repertory and, especially, in new work. This year he appeared as Jigger Craigin in the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” at the Imperial Theater in what Ben Brantley described in The New York Times as “an electric Broadway debut.” Mr. Catazaro, who was born in Canton, Ohio, became a principal dancer with the company in October.

Ms. Waterbury’s suit said that nude photos of other female dancers were also shared, and described lewd and misogynistic language in some of the texts, which she said she discovered on Mr. Finlay’s computer. The suit said that one donor had written to Mr. Finlay about his desire to “violate” dancers at another company, and added, “I bet we could tie some of them up and abuse them like farm animals.” It said Mr. Finlay replied “or like the sluts they are.”

Rob Daniels, a spokesman for City Ballet, said the company had identified the donor as a former member of the company’s young patrons circle who had made modest contributions that totaled approximately $12,000 from 2010 to 2016. He said that at the suggestion of some of the dancers in the company, City Ballet would make a donation in that amount to a local charity focused on women’s issues.

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