New York City Ballet names new leaders, post-Peter Martins

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Ballet has chosen two former dancers to lead the company after the scandal that ended with the retirement of longtime artistic director Peter Martins.

The new artistic director is Jonathan Stafford, who filled the gap left by Martins' departure last year amid accusations, which he denied, of physical and emotional abuse. Wendy Whelan, a beloved dancer who performed with City Ballet for three decades, was named associate artistic director.

The 38-year-old Stafford will also lead the School of American Ballet, affiliated with the company.

Compounding the Martins scandal, three male dancers also were forced out over vulgar photos of women circulated in text messages. Stafford and Whelan are promising to create a "safe space" for dancers at the company, co-founded by iconic choreographer George Balanchine.