Liam Scarlett, great promise of English ballet choreography, dies at 35 | Culture


Liam Scarlett working with the Miami City Ballet in 2012.
Liam Scarlett working with the Miami City Ballet in 2012.Lynne Sweet / AP

British dancer and choreographer Liam Scarlett, 35, died yesterday, Friday 16, without the place and causes of death having been disclosed. It was the great promise of the future of English ballet choreography, having already given ample proof of its talent and ambitions internationally, and had overcome in 2020 a storm of accusations of sexual harassment that had begun a year before, but which, after the investigations initiated by the institutions involved, they were dismissed for lack of conclusive evidence.

Liam Scarlett was born in Ipswich in 1986, beginning his ballet training at the Linda Shipton School of Dancing, a private institution with more than 90 years of existence, and from there he went to The Royal Ballet School, where from the beginning he stood out for a virtuous character and a dance with a strong personality. She joined The Royal Ballet (TRB) in 2006 and danced until 2012, when she opted for choreographic creation. In a brief statement his family said this Saturday: “It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic and premature death of our beloved Liam. This is a difficult time for our entire family, we ask that our privacy be respected so that we can mourn our loss ”.

Junor Souza & Alina Cojocaru del English National Ballet en 'Lest We Forget'.

The future talent of Liam Scarlett

In 2008, his career as a dancer was on the rise, he was promoted to main artist, and in 2012, given the obvious possibilities of his talent, TRB created for him an exceptional position: artist in residence. Scarlett created a dozen works for TRB: Despite, let’s go to hell. Of Mozart, Asphodel Meadows (winner of several awards), Hansel and Gretel, The Age of Anxiety, Frankenstein Y Symphonic Dances. In 2017 he received a consecration commission, the new production of Swan Lake, which premiered in Covent Garden in May 2018, and which was seen at the Teatro Real in Madrid the following season. Jubilee Pas de deux was one of his latest creations at TRB, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II on the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne, a British festive tradition celebrated in Covent Garden with new choreographies.

Allegations of sexual harassment

Liam Scarlett’s relationship with TRB ended abruptly in 2020 following allegations of harassment. It was the Royal Opera House, which is home to TRB, that concluded the independent inquiry into Scarlett and said there were no issues to pursue in relation to the alleged contact with students from The Royal Ballet School. The resident choreographer was investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct involving some students. The accusations caused a stir in the ballet world, and the Queensland Ballet of Australia, where Scarlett enjoyed the status of associate artist, cut all contractual ties.

In this same week, the news broke in the British press that the Royal Danish Ballet, which had hired to premiere the ballet in May 2022 Frankenstein, he definitively canceled that piece and broke the contract with Scarlett, making references to the events in London of 2018 and 2019.

Today, faced with this tragic, unexpected and fatal outcome, the Royal Opera House on Twitter said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Liam Scarlett. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time. “

Liam Scarlett was already much more than a promise, and had worked with other major world-class ballet companies such as the English National Ballet, the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theater and the Norwegian National Ballet.


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