Yat-Sen Chang: Ex-English National Ballet dancer convicted of sexual assault

Dancer faces ‘lengthy sentence’ over abuse of young students

Liam James
Tuesday 11 May 2021 20:55
Yat-Sen Chang was principal dancer of English National Ballet
Yat-Sen Chang was principal dancer of English National Ballet

A renowned ballet dancer has been found guilty of sexually assualting four of his former students.

Yat-Sen Chang, former principal dancer of the English National Ballet, was told he faced a "lengthy sentence" after being convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration.

Four young women complained Chang had touched them inappropriately during massages while they were studying at the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy between 2009 and 2016.

The women were all students of Chang.

The dancer was on trial for 14 offences in total, and was found not guilty of one count of assault by penetration. During the trial he said he had "no idea" why the allegations had been made against him, and claimed he never touched any of the complainants in an inappropriate or sexual way.

He was convicted by the jury at Isleworth Crown Court and remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on 18 June.

Appearing in court, one victim described how she felt “starstruck” by Chang when she began lessons with him. She was left “frozen like a log” and “freaking out” when the abuse began.

Nahid Mannan, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said Chang abused his position as a “famed and trusted ballet teacher” to carry out the assaults.

“At 20 years their senior, Chang would have been well aware that his conduct was grossly inappropriate and predatory. Yet he used his power and influence to abuse and sexually intimidate his young victims.

“During the trial Chang claimed that although he had advised students to get massages or do stretches to help with tight calves, he had never offered to personally massage them. In fact, he said he had only touched students to correct their posture during lessons. However, the strong prosecution case which included evidence provided by the victims in pre-recorded video interviews, meant that the jury were able to convict Chang for his crimes.

“I would like to highlight the courage of the young victims in this case without whose testimony this result may not have been possible. Sexual crimes are some of the most serious and complex cases to prosecute – the CPS will always aim to bring these cases to court where there is the evidence to do so.”

Additional reporting by agencies