Parents of 10 children who had been rehearsing as dancers in a production of "The Nutcracker" ballet have pulled the youngsters out of the show after learning that the producer is under indictment on charges of engaging in sexual activity with young girls.
The production was advertised to begin Sunday at Constitution Hall and run through Tuesday. However, the manager of the hall, George Brooks, said yesterday that the event had never been firmly scheduled and that it was "highly unlikely" it would ever take place.
The children were part of a group of 11 dance students associated with a studio in Bowie who had been rehearsing for the show periodically with the producer, Karoly Barta, at his dance studio in Northwest.
An instructor at the Bowie studio, Cheryl's Dance Company, said that after learning from federal prosecutors of the charges against Barta, the parents met this week and decided to pull the 10 children out of the ballet.
Barta runs a dance studio at 2801 Connecticut Ave. NW, formerly called Dance for Washington Inc. In April, a D.C. Superior Court grand jury indicted Barta on 40 felony counts alleging sexual acts or attempted sexual acts with students, ranging in age from 6 to 11, over a three-year period.
He has been free on bond pending trial on those charges, and has advertised for dancers for the "Nutcracker" ballet, calling his company the International Ballet Institute.
On Nov. 28, Superior Court Judge Fred B. Ugast ordered Barta to identify himself and his former company name on advertisements and promotional literature. Barta appeared at a court hearing yesterday at which assistant U.S. attorney Harold L. Cushenberry, claiming Barta had ignored those conditions, sought to have his bond revoked.
Barta agreed yesterday to meet the conditions and his bond was allowed to stand. He later declined comment on the court appearance or on the "Nutcracker" production.
Debra Markey, an instructor at Cheryl's Dance Company and mother of a 9-year-old girl who had planned to dance in the production, said parents were shocked to learn of the charges against Barta.