Ballet school horror
The week's news at a glance.
The Paris Opera boarding school for ballet students is a Dickensian throwback of psychological horror and medical neglect, a French government inquiry found this week. The elite school forces children ages 8 to 18 to practice for hours every day; students regularly perform until midnight, only to rise again before 7 a.m. They are encouraged to dance through the pain of stress fractures and sprained ankles, and are threatened with expulsion if they gain more than a quarter of a pound. Whistle-blower Camille Fallen said the school was run like a cult. Everything hangs on the terror of being rejected, she said. Talking to the outside world is heresy. Obedience is the be-all and end-all. The school, founded by Rudolf Nureyev, has been ordered to reform its disciplinary policies.