Regarding Sarah Kaufman's Aug. 31 Style story, "Going Toe-to-Toe; A Ballerina Charges the Washington Ballet Fired Her for Union Activism," concerning the Washington Ballet's decision not to reengage dancers Nikkia Parish and Brian Corman for the 2005-06 season:

The decision not to reengage a dancer is difficult for any ballet company, but it is a decision that almost every company must make every season. The Washington Ballet respects the privacy of its dancers and for that reason will not comment on its decisions. That said, it denies that it has violated the law in any way. The Washington Ballet's decision not to reengage Ms. Parish and the delayed decision to reengage Mr. Corman were based solely on artistic reasons, and the case has been settled to the parties' mutual satisfaction.

The Washington Ballet's artistic director, Septime Webre, is a respected and revered artistic leader in the ballet world. He is not a "feared father figure" for a company of "cowed children," and he does not hand out "myriad personal slights . . . under the guise of artistic prerogative."

The Washington Ballet cares about its dancers' safety and well-being, and it does not intimidate or retaliate against them. Moreover, the Washington Ballet is one of the most racially diverse companies in the world. Its artistic director is of Latino descent, and almost half the company is African American, Latino or Asian.

The insinuation that "an anti-union bias [was] prevailing under the guise of artistic decision-making" was inaccurate.


Executive Director

Washington Ballet