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Ballet school horror

The week's news at a glance.

Paris

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.

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