New York City Ballet Investigates Sexual Harassment Claim Against Peter Martins

New York City Ballet Investigates Sexual Harassment Claim Against Peter Martins

City Ballet issued a similar statement, which said, in part, “the ongoing inquiry has not substantiated the allegations.” Rob Daniels, a spokesman for the ballet, said on Monday night Mr. Martins remained in his position as head of the ballet.

Reached by telephone on Monday, Mr. Martins said in response to the accusations, “The company has already addressed it.” Asked if he had anything to add, he said, “At this point, no.”

The two organizations have retained a lawyer, Barbara Hoey, to conduct the investigation. Ms. Hoey, the chairwoman of Kelley Drye’s labor and employment practice group, declined to comment.

As part of the investigation, Mr. Martins is believed to have discussed romantic relationships he has had with female dancers, according to a former official at City Ballet with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Mr. Daniels, the ballet spokesman, said that since 2010 the company “has had a policy precluding a reporting relationship between a supervisor and subordinate where a romantic relationship exists.”

Along those lines, Jed Bernstein was forced out last year as president of Lincoln Center — which has such a policy — after an anonymous complaint revealed that he had been involved in a consensual relationship with a woman who worked for him, and whom he had twice promoted.

In recent interviews, two former City Ballet dancers and three former students at the school described a culture in which Mr. Martins was known for sleeping with dancers, some of whom received better roles because of their personal relationships with him.

The world of ballet is a fuzzy area, those involved say, in which people are regularly touching one another through choreography and instruction. An artistic leader like Mr. Martins looms large — particularly among up-and-coming, young dancers — as a producer who decides which ballets are performed; as a casting director who determines which dancers land the best parts; and as a father figure who designates dancers for promotion.

Balanchine, who was known as Mr. B, wielded tremendous power over the lives of the dancers in his company. He famously discouraged female dancers from marriage and from having children; he insisted that their boyfriends leave them at the stage door — not enter the theater — and that each dancer wear a different perfume so that he could easily identify them.

In a 2012 article on Balanchine in Psychology Tomorrow, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, a former City Ballet dancer, said: “The only way that Peter rivaled Mr. B. was as a Casanova. However, where Mr. B. was charm incarnate, Peter was a basher.”

In 1992, Mr. Martins was charged with third-degree assault against his wife, Darci Kistler, then a principal dancer in the company. Ms. Kistler told the police that her arms and legs had been cut and bruised. The misdemeanor charge was later dropped.

In 2011, Mr. Martins was arrested on New Year’s Day and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Mr. Martins was a star of the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen when he joined City Ballet in 1970. In 1983, he became co-ballet master in chief with Jerome Robbins, taking over that role entirely in 1990.

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