Three weeks after Dancing with the Stars finalist, Nick Lazzarini, was dropped by his dance company, Stages Contemporary Dance, the British dancer has been removed from the company’s upcoming dance tour. The tour will be a deviation from Stages’ usual repertoire — which consists mostly of the “contemporary” classics created by Martha Graham and other American choreographers — with works by a mix of contemporary American choreographers. A source with knowledge of the tour said that the tour will begin in September.
Lazzarini, who finished second on this season’s season of ABC’s reality series, was dismissed by Stages, founded by conductor and composer Peter Allen-Reid, because of a Times investigation that took place in late April. The Times reviewed thousands of emails and voice messages from some of the choreographer’s former colleagues and was able to uncover allegations of a lack of respect for women, bullying and sexual harassment. According to the Times, Lazzarini fired several female former associates after learning of their pregnancy and at least one was forced to quit.
As reported in the Times article, Thomas Haas, a former former dancer, left Stages after an encounter with Lazzarini that he said was “constantly degrading, humiliating and demeaning.” He also said that Lazzarini appeared to physically abuse his arms “at various times, and would also punch and kick me.” Lazzarini denied that, saying that a scratch on his elbow was caused by one of his dancers, and that he had never used his fists against anyone at Stages.
The former Stages employees, many of whom are now working as freelance choreographers elsewhere, gave the Times similar accounts, calling Lazzarini’s behavior a “pattern of abuse” that extended to women in power. One female former dancer said that Lazzarini had berated her after he found her working with a dancer from another company. “F*** off, you piece of s***,” he told her. “You’re working with nobody, you’re even worse than me.”
Lazzarini, who is married to Argentine singer Edriana Ferreyr, denied all of the allegations in the Times investigation.
On Tuesday, director David LaBute, a well-known New York choreographer who formerly taught at Stages, called the New York Times’ report “a timely wake-up call for all of dance.” He continued, “It is an absolute honor to teach choreography at Stages and help them rebuild. However, with the recent allegations, I’ve decided to distance myself from Stages going forward, even if it means working elsewhere.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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