Drama at La Scala

The highest court in Italy has ordered that La Scala re-hire a dancer they sacked in 2012. Mariafrancesca Garritano claimed the company’s training methods encouraged anorexia, and that she herself had suffered weight problems. As a result, the company dismissed her – although that decision must now be reversed.

‘When I was training as a teenager, the instructors would call me ’mozzarella’ and ‘Chinese dumpling’ in front of everyone,’ said Garritano – known by her stage name Mary Garrett – in a 2014 interview with The Guardian. ‘I reduced my eating so much that my period stopped for a year and a half when I was 16 and 17, and I dropped to 43kg.’

After the court ruling Garritano said that ‘All I am waiting for is a call from La Scala.’ The 37-year-old has kept herself in shape, and hopes to dance again with La Scala or another group. However, La Scala has yet to comment and it appears unlikely Garritano will return to the company. A compensation agreement may be reached instead.

Garritano first told her story in her book The Truth, Please, About Ballet. She claims that as many as 70 per cent of La Scala dancers have health problems due to low weight, and that some were unable to conceive children as a result of their diet.