Lazzarini: NY Ballet works with investigators after sexual misconduct allegations

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lazzarini would have choreographed the New York City Ballet’s three-week Winter Dance Concert

An investigation into sexual misconduct by New York City Ballet soloist Nick Lazzarini has led to the popular choreographer being pulled from the company’s tour.

Lazzarini is one of four dancers recently accused of sexual misconduct.

The new allegations against the 41-year-old – who had previously denied the claims – were made in an email to the New York Times on Monday.

In a statement, City Ballet said it “has been closely monitoring the investigation into the statements made by Nicholas Lazzarini and the independent third-party investigative firm hired by NYCB.”

According to the statement, Lazzarini is no longer performing with the company on this tour, adding: “While an investigator continues to work on his report, he will not be doing individual performances during this and future seasons.”

Lazzarini denied the first allegations made against him in November.

Those allegations related to sexual harassment in an earlier stage of his career, which ended in 2005.

Lazzarini told BBC News back in November: “Any behaviour that was outside of the norms is unacceptable.

“But the behaviour has now been addressed through counselling and by accepting responsibility for my actions.

“There was never any malicious intent towards anyone, we were never alone together and we never engaged in any verbal sexual remarks or any inappropriate behaviour whatsoever.”

In November the New York Times reported on a sixth accusation of sexual misconduct against Lazzarini, with a dancer in a late-1980s short-lived show saying he had “touched and tried to kiss her aggressively”.

She also said she had to hold him back during a performance.

In a second letter, written to Times reporter Ann Friedman, another former dancer said she “stuck her head into Lazzarini’s performance and watched from the wings as he continually and lewdly insulted his own company”.

Her letter concluded: “It is my personal opinion that such behaviour is in every way undignified and unconscionable.”

She added: “Mr Lazzarini could not be more aware that he has done wrong. However, my question is: What is the cost of his mistakes?”

The statement from City Ballet said on Sunday that two other dancers – Eric Goldblatt and Robert Fairchild – had also been identified in misconduct allegations by male dancers.

In the statement, the company said “unacceptable conduct has been alleged, by two individuals, against [the dancers] as far back as May 2016, well before any of the allegations made against the company and its dancers.”

It added: “Following a thorough investigation into these allegations, an external investigator was appointed in early December, with investigators expected to complete their work in February. They will issue a confidential report in a few weeks to an independent third-party law firm for review.”

The statement added that “a group of seasoned and experienced dancers” is being placed in the company to “fill the void left by Mr Goldblatt and Mr Fairchild during their departures.”

The Winter Dance Concert, the company’s three-week festival of contemporary works, starts on 27 July.

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