Famed ballet dancer Yat-Sen Chang jailed for nine years for abusing students
21 October 2021, 11:23 | Updated: 21 October 2021, 11:40
Ex-principal dancer at English National Ballet gets nine years in jail for student sexual assault.
Yat-Sen Chang, 50, was found guilty by a London court of 13 counts of assault and rape against his students.
Judge Edward Connell told Isleworth Crown Court that the “internationally renowned” dancer had used his “fame and prestige” to manipulate and abuse young women in his care during his time at the Young Dancers Academy in London and the ENB, between December 2009 and March 2016.
Victim impact statements heard in court revealed that one woman had been left “vulnerable and numb” by her experience with Chang, which she said “ruined most of my late teenager years”.
His victims, the youngest aged 16 years old, told the court Chang had touched them inappropriately during post-practice massages.
One of his former students, a professional dancer, anonymously told ITV she was still too scared to go public with her claims against one of ballet’s most famous names. “The dance world is very small – standing up against a principal dancer in court would mean the end of my career,” she said.
Judge Connell told Chang: “You became emboldened when the young women did not report your conduct. Your offending has had a profound impact on all your victims, and you have demonstrated no remorse for your appalling behaviour.”
The Cuban-born dancer, himself a father of an adult daughter, started his dance career at the Cuban National Ballet School before moving to France. He later moved to the UK and joined ENB in 1993 to perform in productions including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
Chang stepped down from his principal dancer role in 2011, to focus solely on running the English National Ballet School.
Following Chang’s sentencing on Wednesday, the ENB issued a statement to say: “English National Ballet was shocked and concerned to learn of the offenses of a former company dancer. Our thoughts are with the victims who have shown bravery and strength in raising their voices.”