Ballet academy

Vienna ballet academy told kids to start smoking to stay slim, survey finds | News | DW

A special commission investigating allegations of abuse at the Vienna State Opera’s ballet academy found a general “disregard” for child protection at the school, according to a report released on Tuesday.

“It is clear that children and young people are not adequately protected against discrimination, neglect and adverse medical effects,” the government-backed commission said in its report.

The survey reported incidents of physical abuse during training and that students were addressed by their first name and clothing size to draw attention to their weight.

The students, who are between the ages of 10 and 18, have also been urged to start smoking.

“We have received information that advice has been given to students to start smoking so that they are less hungry,” commission chair Susanne Reindl-Krauskopf told a conference in hurry.

The commission also warned that students’ training loads and performance schedules were not sufficiently controlled, “putting their well-being at risk”.

Hit Reports

The government launched the commission in April this year following reports of physical abuse during training and a case of sexual harassment.

austria Sway The newspaper reported at the time that the students were beaten, scratched, pulled by the hair and humiliated because of their body weight. Some of the students developed anorexia and bulimia as a result, the newspaper reports.

The Vienna State Opera said on Tuesday it had taken a series of measures to improve the situation and that the well-being of its students “is a top priority”. The opera said it had already reduced the number of performances for students and started working on health and psychological support programmes.

The commission addressed these changes in its report, but found them insufficient, adding that they were created to convey “a proactive public image”.

The academy, established in 1771, is one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world and attracts applicants from all over the world. More than 80% of the school’s 130 students come from abroad.

Alumni of the school have gone on to dance in some of the most famous companies in the world, including the American Ballet Theater in New York, the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg and the London Royal Ballet.

rs/se (AFP, dpa)

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