It became known on Saturday that the famous British choreographer Liam Scarlett was found dead at the age of 35. This happened a year after he was fired from Covent Garden over allegations of inappropriate behavior towards students. Official reports of the death appeared in the theater’s official account, and were also confirmed by the artist’s family.
We are deeply saddened by the news of Liam Scarlett’s death. All our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very sad time,
– such a message appeared in the account of the Royal Opera.
We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Liam Scarlett.
We are thinking with his friends and family at this very sad time. pic.twitter.com/0VTdpDH0pM
– Royal Opera House (@RoyalOperaHouse) April 17, 2021
It is with great regret to announce the tragic untimely death of our beloved Liam. During this difficult time for our entire family, we ask that you respect our privacy so that we can mourn our loss,
– said in the official statement of the family.
The cause of death was not specified in these reports, it was only known that Liam died at his home in Ipswich.
However, on his Facebook ballet master Alexei Ratmansky wrote about suicide.
I am overwhelmed by the news of Liam Scarlett’s suicide. What a tragic loss of a rare choreographic talent. How many beautiful ballets he could have created!
– he wrote.
Liam Scarlett and Prince Charles
The scandal around Scarlett erupted after one of the students said that the choreographer had asked to send him intimate pictures. According to him, he had such a correspondence with several dancers. In addition, the students accused the choreographer of commenting on their genitals and watching them dress up. Similar harassment, according to students and dancers, took place in 2018-2019.
After that, an internal investigation was carried out, which ultimately did not find confirmation of the students’ words. However, Scarlett was still fired from Covent Garden, and the productions he created were removed from the repertoire. Other theaters have stopped working with him, including the San Francisco Ballet, the Texas Ballet Theater, the Australian Queensland Ballet Theater and the Royal Danish Ballet.
Liam Scarlett in 2011
Ratmansky, in his commentary, pointed out that such decisions were driven by fear.
I heard one director say: “I cannot stage his ballets, I will be devoured alive.” Liam knew he had no future as a choreographer. It killed him. This shouldn’t have happened. This culture of cancellation is killing, it’s too much Will Diaghilev, Nureyev, Robbins and countless other great people who were not flawless be able to work today? How could it happen that the entire ballet world, we all turned away from such an amazing talent, forcing him to die so young ?! Shame and sadness … rest in peace Liam
– wrote Ratmansky.
Opera director Dmitry Chernyakov also called the incident a suicide in comments to the Teatr magazine.
Several years ago, he was accused of sexually harassing dancers, and all companies stopped working with him and removed all of his performances. All of his future contracts were canceled. However, it is known that the investigation did not find any evidence supporting the charges. Newspapers write evasively or sparingly about what happened. They write that the causes of death are unknown. What could be unknown here? At 35 years old, being a gifted choreographer with a brilliant career, suddenly be left without a future, erased from everywhere, with colleagues avoiding him like a leper. Everyone turned away from him. That killed him!
– Chernyakov expressed his opinion.
Scarlett was indeed one of the most gifted and promising choreographers of our time. He started out as a dancer, but soon his colleagues noted his incredible talent as a stage director. He has worked as a choreographer at Covent Garden since 2010, taking the position five years after joining it as a dancer.
In 2012, at the age of 26, he finally switched to choreographic activity. In 2014, he became the youngest choreographer to create a full-length ballet for the troupe – the production of Frankenstein. The day before Liam’s death, the Royal Danish Ballet announced the cancellation of the planned production of Frankenstein due to the same charges brought against the choreographer earlier.