60 ballet dancers sue teacher over child nude photos

60 ballet dancers sue teacher over child nude photos


norman lebrecht

August 01, 2018

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada’s foremost company, is at the heart of a child porn storm.

Sixty former dancers have filed suit against their former RWB teacher Bruce Monk, claiming he pressured them to pose unclothed or partly clothed for his camera between 1984 and 2015. They are demanding $75 million in damages from Monk and the company.

Monk denies the claims.

Report here.

Unrelated image of German Youth Ballet



  • anon says:

    If mankind ever invented a fetishistic art form, it has to be ballet.

    I mean, where do I even start…? the form, the body hugging revealing clothing, the specific body type demanded, the sadism of the teachers, the masochism of the dancers… it has no equivalent in any other culture or era prior to its invention

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Despite the encouragement of friends, mostly female, I have never managed to regard ballet as anything but (often) good music disrupted by people jumping around the stage for no good reason.

  • V.Lind says:

    I don’t get this story at all. In the first place, I don’t see any reference to children, though there is some implication regarding minors. I also do not understand “lured” for portfolio portraits — is this something the company sanctioned? If so, where is the “luring” involved? If not, were wannabes agreeing to get their pictures taken for some other reason, and perhaps lied to about the nature of the pictures and the use to which they would be put? The Macleans story is not all that clear, nor is the precise nature of the lawsuits, which obviously — from the story — involve the company as they apparently would be able to pay up if Mr. Monk could not.

    If anyone knows any more about this I would be glad to be directed to a better report.

    • Scotty says:

      Underage is what the article says. Teenagers younger than 18, it seems. As for the luring, according to the article they were told to come to a location other than the dance studio for headshots. There they were coaxed to gradually lower their leotards to expose their breasts or, it says, more. A link to an earlier story is in the story that SD links to. As a parent of a teenage girl, I’d have had more than words for this guy if I’d found out about such creepy behavior.

      • V.Lind says:

        Have none of them heard the word “no” when asked to so something like that? If they were members of the company, they must have been at least 18. If younger, who were they — students of the RWB School? It is not mentioned.

        Something obviously happened here, but I would reckon the lawyers are going to have a field day.

    • Alex Davies says:

      I think in most jurisdictions it’s illegal to make indecent images of people under 18, so there’s probably not much point debating the semantics of words like “minor” and “child”. I would guess also that in most jurisdictions it’s illegal to make somebody do something by means of coercion. Assuming that Canadian law can’t be too different to English law, the company would appear to be likely to be vicariously liable for the actions of its employee. They may also be negligent if there was a reasonable expectation that they would be aware of what went on within the company and would prevent harm being done.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Isn’t the National Ballet of Canada that country’s premier ballet company? Not the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

  • Alex Davies says:

    75 million Canadian dollars divided between 60 claimants equals 1.25 million Canadian dollars (or £732,888.95) per claimant. It would be great to think that the victims will be properly compensated, but if the Canadian courts are anything like the English courts they’ll be lucky to see a tenth (or less) of what they’re asking for. The article linked to says that the lawyer representing the claimants admits that the sum is ‘a placeholder, near the high end, but still reasonable, and is enough to cover damages which vary from dancer to dancer.’ I’d be really interested to hear from some Canadian readers who know whether this is remotely realistic.