Vanessa Carlton condemns choreographer accused of harassment

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  • Vanessa Carlton (Photo: Ron Shapiro Management)

— Milford native Vanessa Carlton has joined the multitudes raising their voices against powerful men who sexually harass others under their control.

A Jan. 2 article in The New York Times titled "Ballet Leaders Allowed Peter Martins to Act With Impunity, Dancers Say" said Carlton sent an email to Robert I. Lipp, a vice chair of the New York City Ballet, with a warning about its renown choreographer Peter Martins.

The Times quoted this passage from Carlton's email: “Dancers tend not to talk. I’m concerned that this reticence is being misread as a sign to you and your fellow board members that they are not upset. Every single ex-dancer that I know, including myself, will be devastated if Peter is allowed to waltz back into his office.”

Most people know Carlton, now 37, as a singer-songwriter whose debut single, "A Thousand Miles," reached the top of the charts in 2002 and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her debut album, "Be Not Nobody," made platinum in the United States. But before these achievements, Carlton was a ballet dancer. As a child she would dance in the Nutcracker at Grey Towers in Milford. . As an adult, she's headlined her hometown's annual music festival.

Martins, 71, succeeded the famed choreographer George Balanchine in 1990 to lead New York City Ballet and its School of American Ballet, which Carlton attended. He retired this month after two dozens dancers accused him of physical and sexual assault, and using his power to obtain sexual favors, dating back to the early 1980s.

There's been a huge cultural shift against sexual harassment in the workplace ever since movie producer Harvey Weinstein was accused by dozens of women of molestation and assault. Women breaking their silence over past sexual harassment has launched the #MeToo movement — not only in the performing arts but in just about every industry in the country, including the media, Silicon Valley, the restaurant business, and others.

Carlton could not be reached for additional comment.

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