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The Impact of Syracuse Ballet’s Controversial Decision: Dancers Fired for Striking Before The Nutcracker Performance

According to several reports, the majority of the dancers with the Syracuse City Ballet will not appear in an upcoming run of The Nutcracker after the organisation fired the artists for walking off the job.

According to Syracuse.com and local outlet CNY Central, at least five full-time dancers were let go after demanding changes in working conditions and creative direction for more than a year.

According to Syracuse.com, the firings come just two weeks before the Syracuse City dance is slated to stage four performances of the Christmastime classic, which is a key money generator for the central New York dance group.

A SCB representative did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Five of the company’s eight dancers went on strike for over a week over what they called a toxic work environment, according to ABC affiliate WSYR-TV.

“As dancers, we’re used to being pushed both physically and emotionally,” one of the dancers fired last week, Cara Connolly, told Syracuse.com. “Ballet isn’t for the weak of heart.” We’re used to seeing things that other people wouldn’t…But we must trust the leadership that they have the necessary skills and expertise to keep our bodies safe.”
“Our bodies are our livelihood,” she concluded. It’s critical that we feel safe enough to express our concerns and ask questions in order to avoid being wounded.”

SCB board president Jennifer Tifft sent a statement to CNY Central in response to the dancers’ charges.

“The dancers have been using terms like ‘unsafe work environment,’ however, there is simply little specific evidence of such,” Tifft said in a statement. “Their original protest was directed at a single artistic staff member. That employee was placed on leave, and an outside human resources expert was appointed to conduct an inquiry.”
Tifft went on to say that the board made “meaningful changes” by putting the creative director on paid leave.

The board president told the outlet that the future performances will go on as planned, and that two of the strikers have returned to work.

According to Syracuse.com, the ballet will also rely on temporary dancers, including some from Alaska and California, to guarantee the event runs well.

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