A former star choreographer for Britain’s famed Royal Ballet Company has died aged 35, his family announced Saturday, a day after Denmark’s Royal Theatre pulled his show over claims of “offensive behavior”. Liam Scarlett enjoyed a meteoric rise but the Royal Ballet ended its relationship with him in March last year after he was accused of sexual misconduct with students over a 10-year period, although he was cleared by a seven-month probe.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam,” his family said in a statement. “At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss.” The Royal Ballet said separately it was “deeply saddened to hear the news of Liam Scarlett’s death”. Scarlett joined the British troupe as a dancer in 2006, retiring in 2012 to focus on choreography. Claims of sexual misconduct against him shocked the ballet world.
Denmark’s national theatre said on Friday that all performances of his “Frankenstein” production had been cancelled over new claims of “offensive behavior” towards its staff in 2018 and 2019. “Offensive behavior is unacceptable at the Royal Theatre,” said theatre director Kasper Holten, according to The Times.
“The wellbeing and safety of our employees is a high priority for us,” he added in a statement. “We therefore do not wish to perform the works of the choreographer in question until further notice and Frankenstein in the spring of 2022 has therefore been cancelled.”
The allegations against Scarlett, regarded as British ballet’s “next big thing”, reverberated globally, with Australia’s Queensland Ballet cancelling a run of his adaptation of “Dangerous Liaisons”. His works for The Royal Ballet included “Despite”, “Consolations and Liebestraum”, and “Swan Lake”. – AFP