Ramasar and Catazaro, photos via Instagram

NYCB's Firing of Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar Determined "Wrongful and Unjust"

One of the country's top arbitrators has decided to reinstate Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro to New York City Ballet. The former principals were fired last fall for "inappropriate communications," namely graphic text messages.

The dancers' union, American Guild of Musical Artists, fought the termination, arguing that the firings were unjust since they related entirely to non-work activity. After a careful review of the facts, an independent arbitrator determined that the terminations were indeed "wrongful and unjust."


AGMA's decision to challenge the firings was controversial, with some arguing that action ignored the concerns of other dancers in the company who no longer felt safe in Ramasar and Catazaro's presence. AGMA just sent this statement to its members:

After a careful review of the facts, one of the country's top arbitrators has decided to reinstate Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro to the New York City Ballet. Zach has decided not to return to City Ballet.
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) exists to ensure the rights of all our members are protected—that includes those who report harassment in the workplace as well as those who have been subject to unjust termination. This was a complicated situation. We pursued this case because it's important to us that your employer is prevented from taking extreme and potentially career-ending action based on non-criminal activity in your private life.

We are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure you have a respectful environment in which to work. That is essential due to the incredible vulnerability and trust you must practice to perform at your highest level as artists.

We want to be very clear: ensuring your safety and security is our top priority and we will hold your employers accountable. If you are experiencing discrimination, abuse or harassment reach out to your AGMA representative or send us a confidential email at reporting@musicalartists.org (only AGMA's Sexual Harassment liaison and National Executive Director see this email).

We will continue to fight on your behalf to create the culture of dignity and respect that you deserve. If you have any questions or concerns, we are always available to help.

Catazaro, who is currently dancing on a guest contract with Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich (the same company where Sergei Polunin is a permanent guest principal), put out the following statement:

I am grateful and relieved that the arbitrator has found the New York City Ballet's abrupt termination of my contract to be wrongful and unjust. After considering the situation I have decided to respectfully decline my reinstatement and I will not be returning to NYCB.

NYCB has been my home from the age of eighteen and I'm thankful for the many opportunities that were given to me there. I would like to thank all of the dancers, ballet masters, and staff who have guided me through my time there. Most of all I would like to thank all of the patrons who have watched me perform and shown their support.

In light of all the facts that were presented, I feel vindicated knowing that the arbitrator has found NYCB's decision to be wrong.

As I continue my career elsewhere, I look forward to challenging myself as an artist and renewing my spirited passion for dance.


Ramasar, who has been dancing with Rome Opera Ballet and most recently performed in a gala in Buenos Aires, has not yet released a statement. However, New York Times writer Michael Cooper just tweeted that Ramasar will return to his former company.

City Ballet said that Mr. Ramasar plans to return to the company and that "as a condition of his reinstatement, the arbitrator has ordered that he undergo counseling on the standards for his conduct."

New York City Ballet issued a statement, maintaining that the company "still believes strongly that it was also within its rights to terminate Catazaro and Ramasar," though they will honor the ruling.

The arbitration brought on by the American Guild of Musical Artists, which challenged New York City Ballet's suspension and termination of Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar, has concluded. The arbitrator has ruled that while NYCB was justified in disciplining the two men, suspension was the appropriate punishment for their actions and termination was too severe. As such, the arbitrator has ordered NYCB to reinstate Catazaro and Ramasar to their former positions as Principal Dancers with NYCB.

NYCB is gratified that the arbitrator upheld the Company's right to discipline the men for their actions but still believes strongly that it was also within its rights to terminate Catazaro and Ramasar. However, the Company is bound by the arbitrator's decision and will abide by the ruling. Catazaro intends to resign from the Company, effective immediately, and NYCB supports that decision. Ramasar does plan to return to NYCB and as a condition of his reinstatement, the arbitrator has ordered that he undergo counseling on the standards for his conduct. The Company will work closely with Ramasar to ensure that he completes that counseling and to reintegrate him into the Company consistent with the arbitrator's order.

NYCB remains committed to a safe and respectful workplace for all of its employees and will continue to work diligently to ensure that the environment at the Company meets that standard.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search