Just in: Denmark cancels ballet over abuse by British artist

Just in: Denmark cancels ballet over abuse by British artist


norman lebrecht

April 16, 2021

The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen has called off an all-night ballet ‘Frankenstein’ after reports of abusive behavior by a guest choreographer, apparently from London. No names are being given.

The ‘unacceptable behavior’ towards staff took place during rehearsals in 2018 and 2019.

‘We do not want to perform the works of the choreographer in question for the time being, and Frankenstein has therefore been cancelled’, said director Kasper Holten(pictured) in a press release this morning.

The choreographer appears to be an associate of the London’s Royal Opera, where Holten was formerly director.

UPDATE: He has been named as Liam Scarlett. Twnety-four hours after this ban he was found dead at home.


  • mary says:

    If anyone knows, they must name and shame.

    Common industry knowledge but silence shielded Levine for decades.

    • Richard says:

      Frankenstein is a very dark work, with bloody images in scarlet. No wonder it’s been cancelled.

    • V.Lind says:

      Well, he’s been cancelled around the world, and unlike Levine (till very late in the day) he has been investigated and as far as I have read nothing substantial enough to bring charges has been found.

      However, as with Domingo, there are matters of inappropriate behaviour that do not meet standards of criminality but do reach levels of conduct that cannot be tolerated in a workplace or other communal environment. And his cases involved students, which means abuse of power is a possibility.

    • Alexander T says:

      After which he got a multi-million dollar pay out.

  • JRHB says:

    This is surely the Frankenstein, premiered by the Royal Ballet in 2016. He was suspended from his position as Artist in Residence in January 2020 amidst allegations of sexual misconduct and in March the ROH announced that his employment with the company had ended.

  • Joe says:

    I’m certain I know who this is. I’m a private citizen and not affiliated with any arts company, but if you consider this is someone choreographing a Frankenstein ballet, who has worked with the ROH, and who has been in hot water due to details of their past behaviour surfacing (from what can be described as bullying to varying degrees of sexual misconduct), it’s clear who this is.

  • BigSir says:

    From what I could find online, he is being cancelled but hasn’t been found guilty of anything. There are accusations so I expect “where there is smoke there is fire”.

    • V.Lind says:

      Wish you could get that through to the Domingo set.

      • BigSir says:

        But I don’t think its right to cancel someone professionally over smoke. There are usually at least two versions of every event.

    • Linda chao says:

      Of course, if someone is accused, they must be guilty–guilty of something, right? And if they’re guilty of something, they must be punished. They must be punished to the fullest. And there is no redemption possible. All of the above. BTW, I feel certain that I saw you stealing a wallet from a woman’s purse in a restaurant recently….

  • John says:

    Kasper Holten should have known better. Holten was at the ROH when this all unfolded there.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Just in: Denmark cancels ballet over abuse by British artist”

    Yeah, that guy looks like a creep!

    (Yes, I know that’s not him. Yes, I read the fine print. Gosh, I’m trying to make a point here about the chosen picture here…!)

  • Inspector Truscott says:

    Who is this story about? Ever heard of Google? Though if you are interested in what’s on at the Royal Opera House, you would know already:


    Liam Scarlett was a dancer at the ROH and appointed artist in residence in 2012. He was suspended in August 2019 and his departure announced on 23 March 2020.

    Kasper Holten was Director of Opera at the ROH from 2011-2017.

  • Dolly says:

    RIP Liam Scarlett

  • RIP says:

    Sadly Liam Scarlett took his own life yesterday.

  • DM says:

    Dear Norman, in respect of subsequent events, it would be kind to take down this article.

  • Jon says:

    And now, a day after being cancelled by the Danish Opera, Liam Scarlett is dead, and all this despite the Royal Ballet’s investigation concluding that there “were no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with students of The Royal Ballet School”.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Welcome to the new world of casual authoritarianism, finger-pointing, cancel culture and bullying – all from the Left side of politics. And it’s post-religious puritanism.

      If find it strange that a cohort which largely exists in a moral vacuum isn’t able to handle the idea of social and cultural decadence? What absolute, epic hypocrisy.

  • Ivy Lin says:

    Liam Scarlett died today.

  • Noah says:

    His death has just been announced.

  • G says:

    According the Guardian he has just died.

  • mel says:

    I assume most folks by now have read about what has happened to the unnamed individual since…

  • Novagerio says:

    He just killed himself

  • MJA says:

    Well it appears that now he is dead. Perhaps that will be enough to satisfy some people.

  • Ellie says:

    Scarlett has died suddenly. It doesn’t take much to work out what has happened.

    Headlines saying ‘abuse’ instead of ‘alleged abuse’, headlines saying ‘under a cloud…’ without saying ‘inquiries cleared him’… all this has been part of it. He couldn’t ever recover from this.

    The allegations originated from the revengeful act of an ex-partner I believe. And sharing of sexual messages is wrongly but completely widespread in the ballet world. I’ve seen several texts from leading members of the RB that were very explicit. The ballet world is so unhealthily obsessive, competitive, intense and insular. It’s all wrong, that’s where this behaviour comes from – the more extreme the system, the more extreme the ways people find to navigate it. But it’s also almost impossible to envisage the quality of output we want without that system. It’s really hard to know how to change it.

    It’s so wrong to mislead, to sensationalise, to write a lazy clickbait headline. It’s wrong to single out one person when it is endemic. This man’s life was ruined by it. And more than that, ended.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s OK, until it happens to you and yours. And it will; oh my word. One thing is crystal clear; the Left always eats itself.

  • Frankie says:

    As he has just died of ‘undisclosed causes’ at the age of 35 it might be appropriate to close this discussion.

  • Sharon says:

    Whether or not the guy was guilty of anything is it right to cancel his work even if Scarlett was fired for something that happened two years ago? Couldn’t someone else direct?

    Can’t we distinguish between someone’s work and their personal presence? For example, should the concerts Levine conducted be banned from radio broadcast?

  • Linda Chao says:

    Heart-breaking. It was ridiculous and outrageous to cancel the performances of the artistic creations of this choreographer. The artistic creations of the artist can and should be judged separately from the personal life of the artist…unless, of course, we want to live in a world of where the only music and dance that is performed, the only paintings and sculpture exhibited are created by people whose personal and political views and behavior meet some kind of “high” moral standard. I, for one, don’t want to live in that kind of society. Imagine a world where every poem, every novel, every piece of music, every dance were not reproduced if the creator were (at one point in their lives) discovered to have been a drug addict, an abusive spouse, an abusive parent, a debtor. We’re living in an era of a new kind of Inquisition and in the end, we will all suffer for it. Rest In Peace, Liam Scarlett. Your dancing and choreography made the world a better place and we will be worse off without you.

  • Paul Terry says:

    Well, Mary, he was named and shamed, and now he’s dead. I hope you’re happy.