Who is Yat-Sen Chang? Ballet dancer used 'inappropriate' massages to touch girls, aged 16 to 18, in intimate areas

Chang, who holds a Guinness World Record for the fastest 30-second turn, is accused of grooming 4 teenage girls


                            Who is Yat-Sen Chang? Ballet dancer used 'inappropriate' massages to touch girls, aged 16 to 18, in intimate areas
Yat-Sen Chang (R) is accused of touching girls in intimate areas (Twitter/@yscdancecompany)

A court heard that a top ballet dancer sexually abused teenage students under the guise of sports massages.

Yat-Sen Chang, 49, the former English National Ballet's principal dancer who lives in Germany and "everyone was in awe of," has been accused of grooming four young women. A jury at the Westminster Magistrate's Court was told that the victims, aged 16 to 18, were "star-struck" by "renowned" Chang, who "used his position to commit sexual offenses against young students in his care." The dancer was known for performing in productions like 'The Nutcracker', 'Coppélia' and 'Sleeping Beauty'.

READ MORE

Sydney assault: 7-year-old girl choked and sexually assaulted in dance studio restroom by pedophile who filmed part of the abuse

"I just wanted the bullying to stop": 'Danseur' shows how male dancers combat stereotypes and homophobia in the ballet industry

Yat-Sen Chang (Getty Images)

Who is Yat-Sen Chang?

Yat-Sen Chang Oliva is a Chinese-Cuban former principal dancer with English National Ballet. The 49-year-old dancer from Matanzas, Cuba, began his studies at the Cuban National Ballet School when he was nine years old. He graduated as a dancer and trainer in 1989 and immediately entered the renowned Cuban National Ballet Company. He is the youngest of three brothers (all of whom are professionally trained ballet dancers).

In 1992, he was invited to the International Dance Festival of La Baule, and in the same year, he joined Jeune Ballet de France, performing in a variety of countries. In 1993, he became a principal dancer with the English National Ballet.

Yat-Sen Chang (Twitter/yatsenchang16)

Guinness World Record-holder

Chang appeared as a guest artist in several Galas both nationally and globally, including A Homage to Nureyev at The Coliseum Theatre, The 50th Birthday Wings in Memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The 50th Anniversary of The English National Ballet, Dame Beryl Grey's Evening at Sadler's Wells Theatre, and The 10th Anniversary of Danzaria.

In the production 'The Three Musketeers', he was also a guest artist with the Northern Ballet Theatre NBT. He also performed 'The Twins' from William Tuckett's 'Canterville Ghost' on Blue Peter and as the lead dancer in Granada Television's 'Men in Tights.'

He won Best Partner at the Varna International Festival in 1990 and the "Leonida Massine Award" for Best Classical Dancer in Positano (1999). Yat-Sen also holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest grandes pirouettes a la seconde, or the 30-second turn.

Yat-sen Chang as The Nutcracker and Zhanat Atymtayev as The Mouse King with artists of the company in English National Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" (Getty Images)

Married Prima Ballerina Simone Clarke

Yat-Sen Chang has a daughter, Olivia, with ENB principal dancer and ex-girlfriend Simone Clarke. Clarke, from Yorkshire, is a Prima Ballerina. She later married Richard Barnbrook, a far-right councilor who once claimed mixed-race children are "washing out the identity of this country's indigenous people", according to the Evening Standard. Clarke claimed she had broken up with Chang in April after he refused to support her.

In February 2012, Chang was appointed Artistic Director of the Espinosa Dance Project. The dancer offers private tuition to vocationally educated students and professionals in addition to the EDP company class. Chang has recently started work on new projects for a West End musical.

Chang Dance Company, his own brand new company, was established in August 2013.

Yat-Sen Chang performing "Swan Lake' in London (Getty Images)

'Creepy breathing', 'touched intimate area'

The first plaintiff remembered Chang breathing heavily while massaging her leg after she complained of a tight muscle, which she described as "creepy breathing," according to the prosecution, the BBC reported. Barrister Joel Smith said she "thought it was a bit weird", that it "didn't feel like a sports massage" and that he touched her "in an intimate area".

The defendant was also accused of undressing in front of the plaintiff after leading her into the men's change rooms, and of attempting to climb into a shower with her on another occasion. He continued to put her “in embarrassing and sexual situations”.

Former English National Ballet principal Yat-Sen Chang leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court, where he is accused of 14 counts of sexual assault (Getty Images)

'Giggling during sexual abuse'

His actions became "more forceful and more explicit" and he was even accused of pinning a woman to the floor on one occasion. A second alleged victim, the news outlet quoted, described how she "kind of froze" while Chang massaged her. Yet another described his actions as "scaring me a lot".

The fourth complainant accused the ballet dancer of sexually abusing her in a toilet, adding that he caused her to be in pain. Chang, allegedly, would be "giggling" or "laughing" during the assaults, the jury was told. “For his part, he trusted that his fame and his position would protect him from complaints or from consequences of his actions,” Smith told jurors, as reported by The Guardian. “The story of this case is sadly often heard: it is a man with power and prestige using them to abuse younger women.”

The suspected offenses are said to have occurred at the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy in London between December 2009 and March 2016. Chang, who lives in Kiel, Germany, has denied all of the allegations. The trial is expected to last three weeks.