Former NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins resigned in January in the midst of an investigation into allegations of harassment and abuse. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB and SAB Have Announced the Results of the Peter Martins Harassment Investigation

A statement released yesterday by New York City Ballet and School of American Ballet reported that an independent investigation was unable to corroborate allegations of harassment and abuse against former ballet master in chief Peter Martins, according to The New York Times. This marks the end of a two-month inquiry jointly launched by the two organizations in December following an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment and violence.

The statement also included new policies for both the company and school to create safer, more respectful environments for the dancers, including hiring an independent vendor to handle employee complaints anonymously. These changes are being made despite the independent investigation, handled by outside counsel Barbara Hoey, purportedly finding no evidence of abuse.


Martins retired from his positions at both NYCB and SAB on January 1 after over 30 years at the helm. This decision followed a self-requested leave of absence, though he continued to deny the allegations. An interim leadership team comprised of four current and former dancers has been in place since, and will continue to handle the company's day-to-day affairs until a permanent replacement is found. There has been speculation that the dual role of heading NYCB and SAB could be split into more than one position.

According to the Times, in a statement provided by his lawyer, Martins said, "I retired to allow those glorious institutions to move past the turmoil that resulted from these charges. It is my hope that, with the investigation concluded, they can refocus, without distraction, on their roles as the world's pre-eminent ballet company and school."

Martins in rehearsal. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

Much like with Martins' decision to retire, reactions from current and former dancers have been mixed regarding the investigation's findings. Some say that the lack of corroboration tracks with their own positive experiences with Martins; others question the veracity of the investigation. Kelly Cass Boal (wife of Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal) told the Times and The Washington Post that she felt that Hoey was angling to make her accusations sound false during questioning. Boal detailed an incident of physical abuse to the Post in December; she was one of several dancers who told their stories to the media in the last several months.

The recent accusations against Martins were not the first to be leveled against him. In 1992 he was charged with third-degree assault against his wife Darci Kistler; the charges were later dropped. Martins was arrested for driving while intoxicated not long after announcing his retirement; Martins pled not guilty and the case is ongoing, though it is, again, not the first time he has faced such a charge.

The investigation spoke to 77 current and former dancers. (NYCB currently lists 145 dancers on its website.) Hoey's report will not be released publicly.

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Rachel Papo

Our 8 Best Pointe Shoe Hacks

It turns out that TikTok is good for more than just viral dance challenges. Case in point: We recently stumbled across this genius pointe shoe hack for dancers with narrow heels.

Dancers are full of all kinds of crafty tricks to make their pointe shoes work for them. But don't fear: You don't need to spend hours scrolling TikTok to find the best pro tips. We rounded up a few of our favorites published in Dance Magazine over the years.

If your vamp isn't long enough, sew an elastic on top of your metatarsals.

Last year, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Elizabeth Murphy admitted to us that her toes used to flop all the way out of her shoes when she rose up onto pointe(!). "I have really long toes and stock shoes never had a vamp long enough," she says.

Her fix? Sewing a piece of elastic (close to the drawstring but without going through it) at the top of the vamp for more support...and also special-ordering higher vamps.

Solve corns with toe socks

Nashville Ballet's Sarah Cordia told us in 2017 that toe socks are her secret weapon: "I get soft corns in between my toes because I have sweaty feet. Wearing toe socks helps keep that area dry. I found a half-toe sock called 'five-toe heelless half-boat socks' that I now wear in my pointe shoes."

(For other padding game-changers, check out these six ideas.)

Save time by recycling ribbons and elastics.

Don't waste time measuring new ribbons and elastics for every pair. Washington Ballet dancer Ashley Murphy-Wilson told us that she keeps and cycles through about 10 sets of ribbons and crisscross elastics. "It makes sewing new pairs easier because the ribbons and elastic are already at the correct length," she says. Bonus: This also makes your pointe shoe habit more environmentally friendly.

Close-up of hands sewing a pointe shoe.

Murphy-Wilson sewing her shoes

xmbphotography, by Mena Brunette, courtesy The Washington Ballet

Tie your drawstring on demi-pointe.

In 2007, New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild gave us this tip for making sure her drawstring stays tight: "I always tie it in demi-pointe because that is when there's the biggest gap and where there's the most bagginess on the side."

Find a stronger thread.

When it comes to keeping your ribbons on, function trumps form—audiences won't be able to see your stitches from the stage. Many dancers use floss as a stronger, more secure alternative to thread. Fairchild told us she uses thick crochet thread. "Before I go onstage I sew a couple of stitches in the knot of the ribbon to tack the ends," she says. "I do a big 'X.' I have to make sure it's perfect because I'm in it for the show. It's always the very last thing I do."

Don't simply reorder your shoes on autopilot.

Even as adults, our feet keep growing and spreading as we age. Atlanta podiatrist Frank Sinkoe suggests going to a professional pointe shoe fitter at least once a year to make sure you're in the right shoe.

You might even need different sizes at different times of the year, says New York City Ballet podiatric consultant Thomas Novella. During busy periods and in warm weather, your feet might be bigger than during slow periods in the winter. Have different pairs ready for what your feet need now.

Fit *both* feet.

Don't forget that your feet might even be two different sizes. "If you're getting toenail bruises, blood blisters or other signs of compression, but only on one foot, have someone check each foot's size," Novella says. The solution? Buy two pairs at a time—one for the right foot and one for the left.

Wash off the sweat.

Blisters thrive in a sweaty pointe shoe. Whenever you can, take your feet out of your shoes between rehearsals and give them a quick rinse off in the sink. "If feet sweat, they should be washed periodically during the day with soap and water and dried well, especially between the toes," says Sinkoe.