La Scala told to rehire dancer who spoke out about anorexia

Italy's top court has ordered the rehiring of a La Scala ballerina sacked after suggesting the famous company's dance school was responsible for multiple cases of anorexia among its young dancers.

La Scala told to rehire dancer who spoke out about anorexia
Italy's top court has told La Scala to rehire a ballerina fired for revealing the extent of anorexia among the dance school's ballerinas. Photo: O2ma/Flickr

Mariafrancesca Garritano was sacked unfairly in 2012, the Court of Cassation concluded in a definitive ruling on a case that turned the spotlight on eating disorders in the high-pressure world of professional ballet.
Now 37, Garritano has told Italian media she is ready for a return to the stage – even if that looks unlikely to be at La Scala, which has been stonewalling requests for comment on the written court order since it was issued on Friday.
“All I am waiting for is a call from La Scala,” Garritano said in an interview with Milan daily Il Giorno, while acknowledging there had been no contact from the company about a ruling which confirms an October 2014 appeal court victory.
“Already in 2014, I expected to be rehired after two years of interruption. Now I expect the same thing,” said Garritano, who dances under the stage name Mary Garrett.
“I never stopped working on my physical condition to be in the best condition possible when the moment came.”
The dancer was dismissed for bringing the name of the company into disrepute with claims made in a book about her experiences and in related interviews.
One of the interviews which got her sacked was with Britain's Observer in December 2011.
“When I was training as a teenager, the instructors would call me 'mozzarella' and 'Chinese dumpling' in front of everyone,” she told the Sunday newspaper.
“I reduced my eating so much that my period stopped for a year and a half when I was 16 and 17, and I dropped to 43 kilos (94 pounds).”
Garritano said 70 percent of dancers who were with her at La Scala's dance school had eaten so little their periods had stopped and linked her own recurring stomach pains and frequent bone fractures to extreme dieting.


Woody Allen to stage Puccini opera at Milan’s La Scala

Woody Allen, embroiled in revived sex abuse allegations, will take part in the 2018-19 season of Milan's La Scala when he directs his version of a Puccini comic opera, the head of the celebrated opera house said on Wednesday.

Woody Allen to stage Puccini opera at Milan's La Scala
Inside La Scala opera house in Milan. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The programme, which opens on December 7th, will include the veteran US director's riotous rendition of Gianni Schicci, set in New York's “Little Italy” in the 1930s. Allen's version, which was a hit in Los Angeles in 2015 with Spanish legend Placido Domingo in the title role, will play in Milan in July 2019.

The 82-year-old has faced growing isolation over allegations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow as a seven-year-old in 1992, leading a string of actors to distance themselves from him.

The allegations, which have never been proved, resurfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

READ ALSO: 'That time when…': Italian women speak up about sexual harassment

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

“Let's not give that too much weight,” La Scala director Alexander Pereira told AFP, adding: “There's also another part” of Hollywood that still wants to work with Allen, who has directed more than 50 films, winning four Oscars and numerous accolades in Europe.

“He's 82 years old, what does all this mean?” Pereira asked. “Let's leave things as they are.”

La Scala's season will open with the 1846 Verdi opera “Attila” under the baton of Riccardo Chailly, with Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role opposite soprano Saioa Hernandez of Spain.

“Half of the programme will be dedicated to the Italian repertoire, because opera was born here,” Pereira told a news conference.

By Celine Cornu