Spanish ballet director denies sex claim

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The Independent Online

The rarefied world of Spain's National Ballet has been shaken to its finely balanced pointe by accusations that its director is a bully who sexually harassed a dancer. He denies the claims.

José Antonio Ruiz acted with "despotism and discrimination", the Workers' Commissions union said, accusing him of "catastrophic failures and zero artistic results". The union has called on him to resign.

A fifth of the ballet's technical and artistic staff is on sick leave for psychological stress caused by bullying and discrimination, the union says. And female dancers complain of being dropped when pregnant.

Ruiz, a former flamenco dancer who took charge of the state-sponsored company in 2004, denies all the allegations. He says he operates only "on the basis of my experience, my track record and my professional rigour". He is also considering legal action against his accusers.