Houston Ballet Dancer Files Sexual Harassment Suit

Classic Arts News   Houston Ballet Dancer Files Sexual Harassment Suit
 
Zdenek Konvalina, a principal dancer with Houston Ballet, has filed a sexual harassment suit against the company, the Houston Chronicle reports.

In the lawsuit, Konvalina claims that artistic director Stanton Welch made "unwelcome, unsolicited, and untoward sexual advances" toward him, that managing director Cecil Conner ignored his complaints about Welch's conduct, and that his career has suffered as a result of the complaints.

Neither Welch nor Conner would speak to the Chronicle about the suit, but Jay Jones, the company's president, said, "These claims are baseless, and we will defend them vigorously."

Jones told the paper that the company had investigated Konvalina's claims last year after the dancer brought them up during contract negotiations. At the time, he said, Welch "flatly denied" wrongdoing.

Konvalina was born in Brno in the Czech Republic and studied at the Brno Conservatory. After dancing with National Ballet of Moravia-Silesia, he joined Houston Ballet in 2001 as a principal.

Welch, a native of Australia, danced with Australian Ballet before becoming that company's resident choreographer. He has created works for the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and other companies, and has directed Houston Ballet since 2003.


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