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 Post subject: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 6:17 am 
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From the Boston Globe, "One day shy of the third anniversary of her daughter's fatal collapse, the mother of Boston Ballet dancer Heidi Guenther filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ballet and its artistic director, charging that their pressure on Guenther to lose weight had contributed to the 22-year-old's death." Read on:

[url=http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/188/metro/Mother_sues_ballet_in_daughter_s_97_death+.shtml]http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/188/metro/Mother_
sues_ballet_in_daughter_s_97_death+.shtml[/url]

Also, you may want to add your comments to Niki's "Parenting a dancer" topic at
http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000083

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>
[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 06, 2000).]

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:16: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 6:28 am 
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There is also kdprincess69's Healthy Dancer? thread at

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000011

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:19: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 7:45 am 
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And from the Associated Press, "Three years after Guenther's death, her mother, Patricia Harrington, has filed a lawsuit accusing the Boston Ballet and artistic director Anna Marie Holmes of being 'recklessly and grossly negligent' in asking Guenther to lose weight."<P> <A HREF="http://www.nandotimes.com/noframes/story/0,2107,500224966-500322959-501826778-0,00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.nandotimes.com/noframes/story/0,2107,500224966-500322959-501826778-0,00.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 5:23 pm 
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sad story. and eminently understandable from EVERYONE's point of view.<P>for those who wish to save time, the Associated Press link above is merely a précis version, so to speak, of the much more explanatory Boston Globe story (1st link, in 1st post).

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 5:40 pm 
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This disturbing post and accompanying articles sent me to my bookshelf for a book I remember buying and reading in 1984 called "Off Balance, the Real World of Ballet" by Suzanne Gordon. I haven't read it since then, so I don't feel I can advance a proper review of it. I do remember that it seemed fairly opinionated and not altogether truly objective, but it's worth a read nevertheless. <P>Some of the chapters are as follows:<BR>The Relentless Pursuit: Life in the Ballet Schools<BR>The Invisible Partner: Ballet Mothers and Their Children<BR>Onstage and Off: Life in the Company<BR>Unending Childhood: The Obedient Dancer<BR>The Battered Ballerina: Injuries and Anorexia<BR>The Voice of the Dancer: Ballet and the Union<BR>Finding Balance: A New Vision of Ballet<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited July 06, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2000 8:09 pm 
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Grace intrudes to say: PLEASE read the NEXT post before this one. thanks. you MAY be glad you did!--------------<P>This is a story from last year that chronicled the tragedy of Guenther's death. Wrote Ken Baker, "Nearly two years later, however, Heidi's death is still a matter of much debate - particularly between Harrington and the Boston Ballet, as well as between apologists for the classical ballet world's ethereal standard of beauty, who assert that dancers, not dance companies, create unhealthy dancers and ballet's critics, who denounce the art form as an antiquated, Darwinian world of weight control."<P> <A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/examiner/archive/1999/04/04/MAGAZINE2036.dtl" TARGET=_blank>http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/examiner/archive/1999/04/04/MAGAZI NE2036.dtl</A> <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited July 08, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2000 5:08 am 
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Azlan, that story 'from last year' should come with a warning: it is extremely long, and quite heart-rending. <P>it is also quite easy to read, and once into it, you may not want to stop till you get to the end. <P>it covers a period of several years of events, in some detail, and gives a very graphic account of this young woman's death. some people may wish they hadn't read it: you have been forewarned (if you read this post before that one...).<P>whatever people think about the issues raised here, the situation really seems to hinge on this fact: the 'cause' of her death will never be known in the sense of being able to apportion blame. this is real life, not TV; it is complex.<P>any discussion of the issues is all well and good, but let's stay away from discussing a real person who cannot speak up for herself any more. please.

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:00 pm 
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When Heidi Guenther passed away, it took Boston Ballet a month to update their website. For a month after her death she was still listed in their “Meet Your Dancers Section.” When they did post something about her death, it looked like it was written by a PR firm. <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:27 pm 
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i guess one would certainly have to be very careful what one said in such a circumstance.<P>you know, millions of people in australia have clamoured for many months now, for 'our' prime minister, john howard, to say 'sorry' to the aboriginal population for stealing their land, introducing 'white mens' diseases, raping the countryside, separating them from their children, introducing alcohol, and god-knows-what-else. <P>the sentiment is fine, but as i understand it, his reasons for refusing to do so are legal ones (avoidance of resulting lawsuits, if he acknowledges 'fault', or something along those lines).<P>i am no lawyer, so i haven't got a clue about this - and *I* certainly didn't vote for him(!) - but this makes some sense to me. life has become so complicated. the simple and the sincere often cannot be expressed, out of fear.

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2000 8:19 am 
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The fact that the lawsuit was file one day shy of the third year since the tragedy lends me to speculate that there is a 3 year statute of limitations in Mass. and I am sure that the parties have been trying to settle this matter without the need for Court intervention. I suspect that unless both sides have dug their heels in, there will be little in terms of litigation for a bit, for publicity reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2000 10:00 am 
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Thanks, shag. I believe Guenther's mother was quoted as saying that she filed it because the statute limitations was about to expire, to allow herself the option of pursuing the lawsuit if she chooses to do so.<P>Interestingly, the father has refused to take part in this suit.


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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2000 4:42 pm 
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people have different ways of dealing with tragedy. it is no-one else's business to imply or read into such personal actions, any motivations whatsoever. some people need to deal with their grief by exhausting every last detail; while others cannot bear that exposure, and need to heal quietly, without constant public reminders. i feel for both these people, and i think the best way to help them, would be for other people NOT to mind THEIR business.

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2000 6:56 pm 
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Image <I>Heidi Guenther is far right (1996). i 'imagine' this is how she would like to be remembered...</I><P>as is no doubt apparent from my above posts, i am not keen on airing these people's private pain, but for the record pass on the following link:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/guen09222000.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/guen09222000.htm</A> <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The suit claims that in 1995, when Guenther was an apprentice<BR> dancer, ``Ms. Holmes showed her a copy of a contract by which Ms.<BR> Guenther would join the Corps de Ballet. However, after showing Ms.<BR> Guenther the contract, Ms. Holmes informed her that the Ballet would<BR> not offer her the contract until she lost weight.''<P> ``Heidi called me from a phone booth just crying, saying that this is<BR> what (Holmes) did to her,'' Harrington, 50, said yesterday.<P> Guenther did lose the weight and, a year later, the contract was<BR> signed. But the damage had been done. In the interim, the suit<BR> states, ``Ms. Guenther began skipping meals, purging, ingesting<BR> laxatives, and smoking cigarettes all in an effort to lose additional<BR> weight.''<P> Harrington said suddenly telling Guenther just a few months before<BR> her death that she'd lost too much weight was too little, too late<BR> after two years of constant criticism for just the opposite.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>one thing i will say, although it would probably be better in another thread in THE STUDIO perhaps, is that i have personally been below this weight at this height, due to excessive dieting, for the same aesthetic reasons, and a story like this makes you aware of how vulnerable we all are - especially at that age, you have no way of knowing what other predisposing factors there may be in your genetic make-up that, combined with the usual dancer's scenario, may cause an unexpected death. <P>definitely a cautionary tale for young dancers, although it is so very hard to get ambitious passionate young people to hear warnings.

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2000 6:07 am 
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<A HREF="http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/wcvb/20000922/lo/210188_1.html" TARGET=_blank>yahoo daily news article</A> <BR> <A HREF="http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/267/metro/Ballet_s_weight_loss_pressure_deadly_suit_states+.shtml" TARGET=_blank>daily globe article</A> <P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 27, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2000 10:57 am 
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Further developments:<P><B><A HREF="http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/suit10252000.htm" TARGET=_blank>Holmes' departure raises questions of Ballet's defense in wrongful death suit</A></B><BR>by Mary Jo Palumbo, Boston Herald<BR><I>Lawyers for Boston Ballet will formally respond tomorrow to the wrongful death suit filed by the mother of dancer Heidi Guenther, who died at a fragile 93 pounds while employed by the company.</I>


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