Two New York City Ballet Principals Suspended, Another Leaves
New York City Ballet will be three male principals short this season. Due to "inappropriate communications," Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro have been suspended without pay until 2019, and Chase Finlay has resigned, effective immediately, according to The New York Times. (Finlay's name has already disappeared from the company roster on nycballet.com.)
A statement from the NYCB board chairman said they received a letter from someone outside of the company "alleging inappropriate communications made via personal text and email by three members of the company" that were "personal in nature." It added that the board's efforts to reach Finlay to even discuss the allegations were unsuccessful, which leads us to believe that it must have been quite a serious offense.
Either way, the swift action taken on the part of NYCB is a clear sign of the changing company culture in the post-Peter Martins era. The dancers found out about the news on Monday, a day before they were due to start rehearsals. They were sent an internal memo from Jonathan Stafford, who's leading the interim leadership team while NYCB searches for Martins' successor.
In an Instagram post liked and commented on by many of the dancers, corps member Alexa Maxwell, Ramasar's girlfriend, shared lyrics from Carousel, which Ramasar is currently performing in on Broadway until it closes September 16.
Soloist Megan LeCrone also posted on Instagram about a weathering the storm, and "helping those that have fallen":
Joaquin De Luz reposted her photo and quote, adding, "And once again those who pay the price are the artists, the audience and our art form..."
Losing three leading men at once is likely to wreak havoc on casting for the season, which opens in just three weeks. Another principal will be lost when De Luz retires in October. But the unexpected openings may give rising male stars opportunities to step up. (Roman Mejia, anyone?)
One thing is sure: There will likely only be more changes ahead as the company finds new leadership and redefines its culture.
I was on my favorite treadmill when it happened.
My best running buddy was on my left. To my right, a total stranger with whom I'd suddenly become competitive. As the 15-person group headed into a two-minute push, the instructor got hyped, and the remix blasting Rihanna's "We Found Love" transitioned to "Smooth Criminal."