Two male principal dancers were fired by the New York City Ballet Saturday morning after they were cited in a lawsuit for allegedly trading explicit photos of female ballerinas.
Zachary Catazaro, 29, and Amar Ramasar, 36, were both booted from the company for good after being suspended Aug. 27 for “inappropriate communications,” officials confirmed.
The move is in response to an explosive suit filed on Sept. 5 by student-dancer Alexandra Waterbury, 20, against the company — which she called a “breeding ground for sexual exploitation” — and her ex-boyfriend, dancer Chase Finlay, 28.
She alleges her former flame kick-started the X-rated photo exchanges between Catazaro and Ramasar when he wrote, “You have any pictures of girls you’ve f–ked? I’ll send you some [hot] ballerina girls I’ve made scream,” to a group of men in the company.
Finlay — who resigned from NYCB last month — then sent some men in the group, including Ramasar, photos and video clips of their sexual encounters that he’d secretly recorded, the Manhattan Supreme Court suit states.
In response, Ramasar reportedly sent back a picture of a ballet dancer’s breasts.
Waterbury also accused Catazaro of exchanging lewd photos with Finlay, but did not detail the contents in the suit.
The company determined the ballet stars — though not named as defendants in the suit — should be fired after conducting an investigation and weighing community concerns.
“We will not allow the private actions of a few to undermine the hard work and strength of character that is consistently demonstrated by the other members of our community or the excellence for which the Company stands,” NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown and Interim Artistic Team leader Jonathan Stafford said in a joint statement. “A workplace where our dancers and staff feel respected and valued is our highest obligation.”
Catazaro, in a statement to Broadway World, said he is “deeply saddened” by his termination and argued that he never saw any photos of Waterbury,
“Firstly, I want to clarify that I did not initiate, was not involved in, or associated with any of Alexandra Waterbury’s personal material that was allegedly shared with others,” his statement says.
“Although I was initially suspended for other private and personal communications, the NYCB dancers’ union — AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) — maintains that these communications were during off-work hours, and do not justify termination.”
He argued that this “could happen to anyone, in any profession, when personal and private communications are involved” and insisted he wasn’t trying to “harm or embarrass anyone.”
He hopes the union will help get his contract reinstated.
Ramasar told the New York Times, “In the days ahead, I will be telling my story.”