Amar Ramsar's girlfriend and New York City Ballet corps dancer, Alexa Maxwell. Paul Kolnik, Courtesy The PR Social.

As "West Side Story" Protest Against Amar Ramasar Looms, His Girlfriend Speaks Out

Over the past few weeks, tensions have risen around New York City Ballet principal Amar Ramasar's casting in the Broadway revival of West Side Story, set to open February 20. Ramasar is currently embroiled in a lawsuit surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit photos of a female dancer. In light of a protest against Ramasar's casting scheduled for tonight outside the Broadway Theater, his girlfriend of five years, New York City Ballet corps dancer Alexa Maxwell, identified herself as the dancer in his photos and released a statement sharing her point of view.


"I am not a victim in this and no longer wish for my truth to be misrepresented," wrote Maxwell in a statement. "The incident was a personal matter between me and Amar; and I am okay with what happened."

In August of 2018, former School of American Ballet student Alexandra Waterbury accused Chase Finlay, then a principal at NYCB and her ex-boyfriend, of sharing sexually explicit photographs of her with Ramasar and several other men without her consent. She also revealed that Ramasar and NYCB principal Zachary Catazaro had exchanged explicit photos of dancers with Finlay, and filed a lawsuit against them, as well as a donor, NYCB and School of American Ballet. Finlay immediately resigned from the company, and Ramasar and Catazaro were ultimately fired. Last April, the dancers' union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, fought the termination, arguing that it was unjust; Catazaro and Ramasar were reinstated in a decision made by an independent arbitrator. Catazaro declined the offer, but Ramasar chose to return to the company.

Last July, the producers behind West Side Story announced that Ramasar would be joining the cast in the role of Bernardo. The decision has sparked outrage: a Change.org petition to remove Ramasar from the show's cast started last month by college student Megan Rabin has already gained nearly 24,000 signatures. And in recent weeks Paige Levy, a student at New York's LaGuardia High School, has taken to social media to organize a series of weekly protests outside of the Broadway Theater, where West Side Story is currently in previews.

In her statement, Maxwell said that she was "exasperated" by online comments. "On social media Alexandra and other people out there have recklessly tossed around phrases like 'rapist,' 'sexual predator,' and 'pedophile' when referring to Amar," going on to say that in Waterbury's lawsuit she doesn't allege that he fits any of these descriptions.

"The only photograph that was shared by Amar was of me, his girlfriend of nearly five years," Maxwell continued, adding that she knew about them at the time they were taken. Sharing them with Finlay "was a misstep in judgement," she says, but she and Ramasar have worked through it. She also states that shortly after the lawsuit was filed, she and Waterbury had an hour-long phone conversation, where Waterbury encouraged her to join the suit. "According to her New York City Ballet 'is worth half a billion dollars' and I 'would win, and win, like, a lot' and 'could literally have an entirely new life.' I explained to Alexandra that I had no interest in that." Maxwell goes on to say, "It is not my mission to diminish the feelings of Alexandra's but want to bring to light some facts that have been misrepresented across multiple platforms."

The New York Times reported today that Waterbury's lawyer, Jordan K. Merson, called the timing of Maxwell's statement "suspect," and said her description of their conversation was inaccurate, without going into specifics. In a statement in Waterbury's Instagram story from earlier today she wrote that Maxwell was taking her words out of context: "Her attempt to discredit me and make me look like I'm after money is sad."

Latest Posts


All photos by Joe Toreno. Grooming throughout by Lisa Chamberlain for The Rex Agency.

How Mark Kanemura—Artist, Activist, and All-Around Icon—Became Our Internet Dance Mascot

Twelve years ago, a baby-faced Mark Kanemura appeared on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 4. The Hawaiian-born dancer—whose winningly quirky style found a perfect vehicle in Sonya Tayeh's creepy-cool "The Garden" routine—quickly became a fan favorite. Kanemura made it to the Top 6 (Joshua Allen took the title that season), and a star was born.

But the world didn't know how bright that star was going to shine.

Fresh off "SYTYCD," Kanemura started booking jobs with Lady Gaga: first the MTV Video Music Awards, then the Jingle Bell Ball. Soon, he was a staple on Gaga's stages and in her videos, and he began to develop a dedicated fan base of his own.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy MSG Photos

#SocialDisDancing: A Look at Rockette Taylor Shimko's At-Home Dance Life

From the most famous choreographers to the newest of dance newbies, we're all going through the same pandemic-related struggles right now. So, how are the pros coping with it all? To find out, we've started a new interview series, #SocialDisDancing. Over the next few weeks, we'll be catching up with some of your favorite dancers to see how they're step-ball-changing their way through this unprecedented moment in dance history. We had the chance to speak with Taylor Shimko, who's been a Radio City Rockette for more than 10 seasons. (Be sure to check out Taylor's takeover of our Instagram for an inside peek at her day in the #SocialDisDancing life.)

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Taylor Goldberg, Jordan Goldberg, and JT Church attending REVEL's virtual convention (courtesy Leslie Church)

What It's Like to Attend a Virtual Dance Convention

During this new era of social distancing, the dance world has gotten pretty creative. Tons of teachers, studios, competitions, and conventions have stepped up to the plate to help fill our living rooms with virtual dance content. But what's it really like to attend a dance convention online?

Dance Spirit followed JT Church, "Dancing With The Stars: Juniors" pro and "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" runner-up, as he spent the weekend attending REVEL's "Rev-Virtual" online convention experience.

Hey guys! I have been a special guest faculty assistant for REVEL Dance Convention for the last four years. So I was excited to find out they'd be hosting a series of online convention weekends. With everything that's going on, I've been missing conventions so much. I knew it'd be great to be able to keep up my training.

Two of my best friends, Jordan and Taylor Goldberg—I dance with them at Club Dance—asked me to come over to their home studio so we could take REVEL's online classes together. Here's how it all went.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
contest
Enter the Cover Model Search