Fear and loathing at London ballet

Fear and loathing at London ballet


norman lebrecht

February 13, 2018

The turmoil at Tamara Rojo’s English National Ballet is documented in a fresh report, out today:

We talked to twelve ENB dancers past and present, as well as support staff, and had sight of relevant documents. And the answer we consistently got was “fear.”

“I’ve been wanting to talk about this for so long, but was so afraid,” said one.

It is hard to comprehend, let alone describe, the palpable sense of fear common to the sources we approached on a strictly confidential basis.

Think about it: fear, all-pervasive and paralysing… in a publicly subsidised company… in 21st century Britain…

Equally striking was the eagerness with which accounts that had been churning inside came pouring out once people had been assured of absolute confidentiality. Striking too, that as they spoke to Ballet Position and relived their time at ENB, many of those who are no longer there still broke down and cried.

“I was so depressed, I still cry remembering it,” said one former dancer.

Read on here.



  • FS60103 says:

    Upsetting story, but far from atypical in publicly subsidised arts organisations, where reports to external stakeholders on the corporate health and governance of a company are invariably mediated by the senior management, and where those stakeholders have a political interest in wanting to believe them. In this case it seems to have been made worse by having actual artists, rather than trained and experienced managers, in senior management positions: lunatics running the asylum.

    However, it’s very naïve indeed to imagine that the company’s HR department would be in any way impartial, under any circumstances. HR departments are not there to act as independent arbiters and watchdogs: they’re there to enforce the management’s will on staff with the minimum of legal or reputational fallout. If you’re an employee in any large arts organisation, below senior level, the only body that will protect your interests is your trade union.

  • Eli Bensky says:

    If this is a real problem, and I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the situation, why doesn’t everybody walk-out and go on strike. If the problem is so pervasive and everyone take a position, the majority will properly get rid of the problem