A former director of the English National Ballet and confidant of Diana, Princess of Wales, has admitted that he asked a pregnant ballerina to consider having an abortion.
Daria Klimentova, 41, who remains principal dancer at the company, says in her new autobiography that when she told Derek Deane about her pregnancy he asked her: “Are you going to keep it?"
She says that Mr Deane, the former director of the English National Ballet - a notoriously demanding choreographer who was a friend of both Diana, Princess of Wales, and Princess Margaret - made it clear her pregnancy was 'an inconvenience'.
The Czech dancer makes the claims in her autobiography, Agony and Ecstasy: My Life in Dance.
'I was happily married and approaching 30, and yet he asked me immediately, "Are you going to keep it?"' she writes.
Ms Klimentova, went on to have a daughter and remains principal dancer at the company.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Deane, who was artistic director of the English National Ballet from 1993 to 2001, has admitted asking Ms Klimentova whether it was the 'right time' to have a child, but insists he did not make 'any demand' that she terminate her pregnancy.
He told the Guardian that he recalled asking her what she really wanted, and telling her she had to be 'very sure' a baby was what she wanted.
"I remember the conversation very well," he tells diarist Hugh Muir. "She came to me to say she was expecting a child. I said 'are you sure this is the right time for you privately and professionally to be having a baby. I am about to do Sleeping Beauty and your career is taking off. What do you really want?' She said I want to have the baby, so I said you have to be very sure of that. I accepted what she said and cast someone else. There was no way I was making any demand to Daria to terminate her pregnancy. I wanted her to be very clear that that was what she really wanted."
Ms Klimentova returned to the English National Ballet just a week after having her baby, and was back on stage as prima ballerina three months later.
In her book she says she feared she was 'done at ENB' after the incident, but that Mr Deane 'bore no grudge towards me whatsoever'.
Mr Deane stepped down from his post as the English National Ballet's artistic director in 2001 following allegations he had harassed a male dancer. At the time he declined to comment.