Ballet Teacher Arrested on 16 counts…

Well known and formerly respected ballet teacher, Viktor Kabaniaev, was arrested for 16 counts of sexually assaulting a child under 14. If you don’t know him, he was the coach for Miko Fogarty in the documentary “First Position”.


This isn’t the first and unfortunately probably won’t be the last. Last year former Ellison Teacher, and teacher at Dance Conservatory in Dover was arrested which opened a history of incidence reports and pending charges. (article) His trial is set for February 5.

From claims, to actual cases, the seriousness of these claims can ruin a ballet school. Recently in Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy had allegations of sexual misconduct against the AD, and even though it has not gone to trial, and it is still under investigation, the school has reported losing 30 percent of the students. (article)

But, last year brought cases from 29 year old Ross McCord of DC Dance Factory (article), to the highly publicized case against Peter Martins. It has accused former ABT principal dancer Marcelo Gomes and numerous other dancers across the world. But it isn’t just accusations, Indiana U’s Guo Ping Wangwas sentenced to two years of probation following a guilty plea. (article) Another guilty was Niel Harris in the UK. (article)

The list goes on and on, and last year, it wasn’t just men being accused. Female teachers were also accused of harassment, verbal abuse and mental abuse.

6 responses to “Ballet Teacher Arrested on 16 counts…”

  1. Wow, this is Frightening for a parent that is considering sending their child off to a year-round program and putting her hands in the teachers we feel we can trust. But who can you trust it seems we can’t fully trust anybody. We just have to be vigilant and on top of everything unfortunately. Teach our children to speak up to say something to not allow anything like this to happen to them or their friends. And to know it’s not going to jeopardize their dancing. But I think most of these dancers don’t want to speak up because they’re afraid they won’t get a certain role or they will be punished in someway. And to me that’s not fair when a dancer has worked their entire lives doing what they love and dreaming in achieving their goal to be A professional. Seriously these men and women need to be held accountable for their actions and our children need to know that they can go off to save environment and not have to worry if somethings going to happen to them while they’re trying to work hard doing what they love. It really makes me wonder if I’m making the right decisions for her. There is Nothing more parent wants to do is protect their child from any predator. I feel that these dance programs need to have meetings with parents and the children talking about topics like this and telling them if anyone encounters anything of the sort to come straight to the person that is in charge and tell them. That they won’t suffer any consequences for speaking up. This must stop!!!

  2. I don’t think it’s fair to make any conclusions yet as nothing has been proven, but I pray to God this is just a misunderstanding. I know that Americans are not accustomed to the (necessary) hand-contact method of correction that is prevalent in Russia (also other European countries and Asia).

  3. I pray this isn’t true, because he seems like a great guy who has done amazing work. But look, I also think it’s a stretch to say it’s old school hand contact that is simply being misinterpreted. Anyone studying with Viktor is the level where they should know very well what ballet training is about. It’s 16 counts of aggravated sexual assault, and suspicion of forcible rape. Not sure how hand contact training can be misconstrued that badly. I am really not able to fully believe it. To me either someone is out to get him, or scarily it could be true.

  4. We were more than a little disappointed that Mr. Ellison seemed tone-deaf when the reports came out about the teacher who had worked in his studios. We owe it to our children to listen to their concerns and teachers are on the frontlines. It is possible for a child to misunderstand, but the kinds of allegations brought against both of these teachers doesn’t imply a misunderstanding. It is my firm conviction that good teachers would never hurt a child – emotionally, physically, or otherwise. (Dance Mom-type teachers foster a breeding ground for this kind of abuse, imho.) However, we have to talk to our children. it’s important for them to know they have a right to express their concerns. Tell them that no one, including a doctor, police officer, teacher, relative, even us…has the right to touch them without permission or do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Speak to teachers. If they seem “cagey” in any way about how they deal with their students, that’s probably a sign. If they are defensive or place any demands…”I must do this or that” when talking with you about their training methods, you should be concerned. On the other hand, if they have a healthy respect for your child’s well-being, they won’t demean them (or you) or make either of you feel bad for speaking up. Respect (and trust) is earned, not demanded.

  5. “formally respected”??? I guess innocent till proven guilty is a thing of the past. And vengeful parent is out of the question right? I mean ballet parents are never an issue in a ballet studio with their princesses who can do no wrong. This guys career is ruined just on accusation.