I was scanning The Telegraph, when a story about a ballerina at the center of a political firefight caught my eye. It turns out that one of the principal dancers in the English National Ballet is a proud member of the British National Party (more about the party’s stands later). Her appearance on stage sparked protests:
Political activists shouted abuse at a ballerina today as she danced on stage for the first time since being unmasked as a member of the British National Party.
Less than 15 minutes into Simone Clarke’s star performance in Giselle, protesters taunted her from the stalls with the words: “The principal ballerina is a BNP member. No to fascism in the arts.”
In an extraordinary escalation of the row that has surrounded the English National Ballet company for weeks, a 34-year-old man and several sixth-form students jumped up from their seats to shout: “Black and white unite. No to the BNP.”
Clarke, who was mid-step when the outburst occurred, continued to smile and danced on as if nothing was happening. But there were loud cries of “shame” and “shut up” from the usually tranquil ballet audience, which this afternoon included high profile members of the BNP.
The protesters, who had been demonstrating outside with the lobby group Unite Against Fascism (UAF), were quickly bundled out onto the street. But some of the London Coliseum’s 2,000-odd spectators were angry and upset that a performance of such serenity had been hijacked by “ugly politics”.
“It was an absolutely outrageous outburst, and completely inappropriate”, said Angela Large, a 50-year-old photographer who was among many to pay more than