Britain's top ballet schools have a "toxic culture," say former students, who are speaking out in a BBC exposé on the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School. If you imagined such places to be largely about weird old people shouting at, bullying and manipulating girls into unhealthy weight loss, you would be right.
Former dancers who attended the schools over the past two decades have made a series of claims about their treatment including:
-Being regularly body shamed by teachers
-"Coded" language being used to encourage weight loss
-Being congratulated by teachers on losing weight, causing eating disorders to spiral
-Experiencing bullying from teachers
One retired ballerina the BBC spoke to has begun legal action against the Royal Ballet School for the treatment she says she suffered there. … Lawyer Dino Nocivelli, who is representing Ellen and a number of other ballet dancers from another school, said his clients have come forward for different reasons. He says some want "an admission that the abuse took place, to hold these schools accountable".
The two ballet schools told the BBC they were "working hard to change the culture." If that registers to you as "we'll think about it, but there's nothing you can do about it and it's really none of your business," you'd be right. It's an example of the general British mode of fatalism and contempt which defines public discussion of everything from social media policy to the country's status as a legal paradise for rapists.