CriticalDance Forum

National Ballet of Canada Winter 2007
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:36 am ]
Post subject:  National Ballet of Canada Winter 2007

It’s officially winter and hence the topic: ‘National Ballet of Canada Winter 2007.’ What we should be talking about with great enthusiasm is the National’s 1st Cineplex presentation of the Nutcracker! Did anybody get a chance to see it? If so, please do elaborate in this space. I have yet to google a news story about the Cineplex version.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:16 am ]
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I didn’t really expect anybody connected to NBS to post on CD – given the very sensitive nature of the issues. One mother did speak to the Globe & Mail, though her name was withheld.

“Even supporters of the school wonder how the latest alleged offences, which police say took place between September, 2006, and October, 2007, could have taken so long to come to light.

‘Why were they quiet for so long?’ asked the mother of a student who shared a class with the accused last year.”

One mother, Svea Eklof, a former ballerina did permit her name to be published.

“They would be fearful about coming forward, I would imagine, very fearful about being labelled a victim,” she said. “It’s not that there's an atmosphere that would encourage them not to come forward, but this would be very hard for someone around that age.”

I’m not sure why the Globe & Mail interviewed Kimberly Glasco because she has no kids at the school but she is a mother and former student of the school.

“Kimberly Glasco, a former student and a full-time mother, said the message she takes away from the arrest has nothing do with the ballet school: it has to do with the parents whose daughters never told them about the alleged assaults.

‘You must speak to your kids,’ she said.”

Incredibly, an unnamed source claimed the school used to be run like an army base-An obvious shot at its former director, Betty Oliphant, who did not have the same resources enjoyed by its current director but nonetheless had no students charged with sexual assault that I am aware of.

No doubt the NBS board was meeting over the weekend or perhaps today or the next few days to deal with this issue. I wonder if they have a code of conduct to be signed by students and perhaps even their parents?

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Dec 24, 2007 1:08 pm ]
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The police involved in the sexual assaults at the National Ballet School are urging victims to come forward.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5100 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477, or online at

The National Post confirmed the story in the Toronto Sun yesterday that this was the 2nd time sex charges have been brought against an NBS student.

“This is the second time sex charges have been brought against a student at the 48-year-old institution in the last three months.

Wong wouldn’t comment on the other investigation, other than to say it's making its way through the courts.”

This whole story is getting very scary:

“The alleged victims of a 13-year-old boy charged with sexually assaulting other students at the National Ballet School of Canada kept their secret until they became worried for the welfare of other students, said a police officer on the case.

‘What happened was, they had concerns for other students . . . that were going to be having contact with the individual that was charged, and as a result of that they actually warned those other students,’ said Toronto Det. Hugh Wong on Monday. ‘They’d kept this secret and because of their concern for the others they warned them.’”

What kind of a world are we living in?

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:11 pm ]
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Here comes more on the story from CTV with an interesting interview from their legal expert.

So far, the 13-year-old has been charged with seven counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

“The investigation to this point in time -- and some disclosures that we've received from those we've already spoken to -- lead us to believe that there is some other parties who may have been victims in this matter,” Toronto Police Det. Hugh Wong told on Monday.

...CTV’s legal analyst Steven Skurka said it is quite possible that more victims may come forward.

“They may have been inhibited before (because) they didn't want to be the first one,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me to find that this investigation actually gets larger and indeed there may be more charges laid in the future.”

Sadly the school is silent. No representatives would speak to the CBC. Michael Crabb was interviewed and stated there was only one incident. He was obviously unaware at the time of the interview that this was actually the 2nd incident.

Eventually the school will have to succumb to a press conference and at that time I have no doubt a reporter will ask AD Mavis Staines if she was aware this was the 2nd such occurrence. And if so, why did she state ‘she was in a terrible shock and that this was not representative of life at the school.’ In effect, Miss Staines gave the impression this was the 1st she heard of such an incident. The next question will be why NBS chose not to disclose this information to the public and if students were made aware of the 1st incident. If the school was aware of prior incidents, many people will be very concerned that the management of the school chose to protect its reputation over the safety of its students.

Now, more than ever, is the time for open communication. Obviously, many students and parents may be fearful of coming forward fearing it may effect their status at NBS. Some things are more important than a career in the world of ballet.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:15 am ]
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I would like to preface this by stating I have enormous respect for Michael Crabb and his contribution to ballet in Canada. I thought it quite the coincidence that the CBC reporter just happened to catch Mr. Crabb hanging out on a cold winter day in front of the National Ballet School! Obviously, it was more than a coincidence and I must assume he was compensated for his time. I have no problem with writers picking up a few extra bucks providing TV content. It’s just a little sad he wasn’t up to speed on the issues facing NBS – Specifically that this was the 2nd such incident at the school involving a sexual assault. I fully expected Michael Crabb to try and put a positive spin on everything for the sake of NBS.

I expect school officials have directed all parents and students to clam up and they will no doubt lawyer up plus state they cannot comment on the incidents because it’s in the legal system. My gut tells me this whole mess isn’t going to go away anytime soon. The very least NBS could do is have some figurehead read a prepared statement. The story is just too juicy for the media not to follow all leads. It’s all about selling ad revenue.

When googling the above CBC story, I stumbled upon this video (the most popular currently playing on google). The youth of today are certainly exposed to a lot more sexy images than when I was a kid. I hope NBS has a program set up to protect its students from googling where they shouldn’t be googling. BTW: If the above incident occurred at a regular run-of-the-mill Toronto high school, would you be even reading about it?

* The above video is innocent by today’s standards and isn’t what it appears to be. Just an example of how far society’s line of morality has been pushed to the XXX side.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Dec 25, 2007 11:14 am ]
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I would just like to add that given tuition and residence fees at NBS start at $18,550 per school year all the way to $28,050, they should be held to a much higher standard in regards to the care and safety of their students. The National Ballet School of Canada is not a regular run-of-the-mill high school.

What will NBS do when students return after the Christmas break and reporters are milling about sticking microphones and cameras in the faces of teens looking for a 15 second newsbite? I hope they possess the good sense to have the management of the school speak on these very serious issues, rather than have it fall upon their students. I’m sure they’re under enough stress just having to deal with studies and dance.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Wed Dec 26, 2007 3:54 pm ]
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I guess nobody saw the Cineplex version of Mr. K’s Nutcracker-At least nobody that surfs CD.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:16 pm ]
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You really have to love ballet to stick it out from grade 6 to 12 at NBS. Seven years with tuition and residence for Canadian residents works out to $129,850, not including miscellaneous items. Assuming you crack the lineup for the NBoC, you’ll have to toil in the corps about 3 and half years just to break even. Is it worth it? What about those who never fulfill their dreams of a career at a major ballet company :?:

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:16 pm ]
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I was hoping the story 1st published in the Toronto Sun was wrong. They reported this was the 2nd time a student was charged with a sex offence. This was confirmed by the National Post and now the Toronto Star in their wrap up of 2007. The news is quite significant given the NBS AD indicated she was shocked to hear of the news. Many parents must be asking themselves if she was aware of the 1st offense and if so, why students and parents were not alerted.

“The Nutcracker (Rap) Sheet: For the second time in three months, teenage students at the prestigious National Ballet School of Canada are charged with sex crimes.”

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:27 pm ]
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I was just re-reading all of the above and it just struck me that it reads of a really bad dream but sadly it is reality.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:29 pm ]
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NOTE: As a reminder, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. It is also pertinent that - if Canadian law is similar to US law - the school and police are required to take action when there is any accusation or evidence of any kind of abuse involving a minor. Thus the instigation of an investigation does not confirm that abuse occurred.

And whether or not public money is involved, the persons in the incident are minors, and so it should be a confidential investigation. I am surprised that parents did/were allowed to speak to the press, and it may be that due to the involvement of minors, those involved are not permitted to make further comments.

Since this incident involves young students, not company dancers, discussion beyond posting links is not appropriate on this forum. I am going to close this topic and start a fresh topic for discussion of NBoC's current season.


Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:52 pm ]
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Thanks very much for that well thought out contribution to the discussion I was having with myself! Things were getting kind of lonely. Unfortunately, it’s probably a topic people don’t want to discuss. You mentioned the ‘previous incident’ made the news but I can’t recollect reading of it. I do believe it was good this made it into the news, as at the very least NBS will now address the issues and parents will be forced to have some difficult discussions with their children.

Sadly, I am of the opinion that many parents do not devote the proper amount of time to their children-Especially those that work 50 plus hours a week or when both parents work full-time. In most cases the TV baby sits the kids. No doubt the newspapers will be printing some follow-up stories with the news this was the 2nd such incident at the school.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:03 pm ]
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“Why was the news leaked to the press - investigations involving minors are generally required to remain confidential... whomever made the news public before the investigation was complete should be reprimanded.”

The above is an interesting thought by Kate. To play Devil’s Advocate, NBS is a public institution funded by the public. Why should the public not have a right to know if the public purse is being used wisely to educate, train, and protect students? Last time I checked we lived in a democratic society. I personally believe the person who leaked the story to the press should be applauded for his or her courage.

“Surely it would have been possible to contact the other students without going public.”

The above is very interesting. If the NBS knew and I have to assume they did, would the police not have informed them? If the police did not, then I believe they did not serve the best interest of the public. This was the 2nd such incident and the AD of NBS stated she was shocked at the news. Did the police inform the school of the 1st incident? If the students were informed along with their parents, they would in fact be going public because somebody would talk to the press.

I noticed Kate edited her response 3 times and the part about the previous incident making the news. I don’t believe it did. In any case, Kate is correct that we don’t know what happened and we won’t until it goes through the courts. I am saddened that NBS has not made a public statement to at the very least; restore public confidence in the school. In this day and age, can you really keep a thing like that a secret?

Author:  ksneds [ Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:33 am ]
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As mentioned above, this incident involves students, so is not appropriate for discussion in this topic. I am going to close this topic and start a new topic for discussion of the current season. Any further discussion, other than posting of links (with NO commentary) will be deleted.

Kate (moderator)

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:13 pm ]
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Moved from another topic:

From JaneH

Just wanted to let everyone know that ALL the charges against the young man who, along with his family, was so viciously slandered and vilified on this site were withdrawn by the Crown some time ago. I look forward to reading the apologies of those whose speculative and baseless remarks, whether still on this site or deleted, were so profoundly offensive and hurtful to members of the NBS family.

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