Ballet Teacher Is Accused of Comparing Pupils to 'Bunch of Jews Waiting to Be Shot'

Daily Mail (London), October 29, 2013 | Go to article overview

Ballet Teacher Is Accused of Comparing Pupils to 'Bunch of Jews Waiting to Be Shot'


Byline: Moira Kerr

A BALLET school studenttold a court yesterday of her shock when her teacher allegedly made anti-Jewish remarks.

Award-winning dancer Jonathan Barton, who has worked with English National Ballet, is Vice-Principal of the renowned Ballet West school, in Taynuilt, near Oban, Argyll, which boasts Billy Connolly as a patron.

Barton, 31, of Taynuilt, denies acting in a racially-aggravated manner, causing distress and alarm to dancer Genevieve Huss.

Miss Huss, 20, who now teaches ballet in London, told Oban Sheriff Court yesterday: 'The remark was: "You all look like a bunch of Jews waiting to be shot in the rain".

'It was late at night, everyone looked quite tired and the comment just came out.' Miss Huss was the only Jewish student in the class of 10 to 14 pupils when Barton allegedly made the comment in the dance studio at Ballet West.

Miss Huss, who was 17 at the time of the incident in 2010, said Barton had then asked: 'Is anyone in this class Jewish?' She said she had raised her hand, and added: 'I felt anxious. I felt like I was being singled out. It just made me fear for my safety at being there.'

Initially she said she had felt 'shocked - shocked in a very bad way' and later that evening had felt depressed and anxious.

Asked how she felt now, she said: 'I am offended. Knowing that my family in the war were killed, people related to me.' Procurator Fiscal Eoin McGinty asked: 'In the Holocaust?' Miss Huss said: 'My grandmother lost the majority of her family.' She said the incident had come out when ' she was being questioned by police on an unrelated matter concerning Ballet West.

Miss Huss admitted that her 14 months of study at the [pounds sterling]8,000-ayear school had not been happy. Defence agent Gary McAteer put it to her that there had been regular complaints from her family about a variety of issues.

She agreed that her father had asked for his money back when she left the school.

Grievances ranged from her being cast as a peasant, in the company's production of Swan Lake when she wanted to be a swan, to a complaint that she couldn't get to sleep in the school accommodation because a room mate snored. …

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