The vice-principal of a leading Scottish ballet school based in the Highlands has appeared in court charged with racially abusing a Jewish student.
Jonathan Barton, of the Ballet West centre of excellence in Taynuilt, Argyll, is said to have told pupils practising a routine: “You look like the Jews lining up waiting to be shot.”
The Jewish girl later complained to police. It is believed that her grandmother fled Nazi persecution in Austria in the 1930s before settling in Britain.
Mr Barton, 30, appeared at Oban Sheriff Court on Wednesday charged with acting in a racially aggravated manner, which caused or was intended to cause alarm and distress, during the alleged incident in December 2010.
He has not yet entered a plea and will reappear in court later this month, when a decision will be made whether to proceed with the charge.
Student’s grandma fled Nazi persecution
Mr Barton is a renowned ballet dancer who originally trained at Ballet West before working with the English National Ballet and for a number of international companies. He has danced leading classical male roles for Ballet West, including Siegfried in Swan Lake and the princes in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
He has been awarded the Solo Seal of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and won a medal at the prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition.
Off-stage, Mr Barton has appeared as a dancer in music videos and pop concerts. He was also the lead teacher for Scotland’s largest gathering of male dancers, the RAD’s Boys Only.