Scottish Ballet uses intimacy coaches to prepare for violent and erotic scenes

Scotland’s national ballet company has started using intimacy coaches for its dancers to protect them during performances with sexual and emotionally charged content.

The Scottish Ballet said it believes it is the first dance company to adopt this style of coaching to protect its performers.

The announcement comes ahead of the premiere of the company’s production of The Scandal At Mayerling, which explores themes of sexual obsession, mental illness and drug addiction in nine intense, dramatic duets.

Based on a true ‘murder-suicide’ set in late 19th-century Austria, the production focuses on the events leading up to the deaths of a prince and his teenage mistress.


Scottish Ballet Artistic Director Christopher Hampson said it was important that dancers were properly equipped for the performance (Andy Ross/Scottish Ballet/PA)

Intimacy coaches are becoming increasingly popular in the film and television industries to ensure that scenes involving sex or nudity are filmed in an ethical manner and that the comfort and safety of the performers are maintained.

Scottish Ballet Artistic Director Christopher Hampson said: “It is important that all our dancers, rehearsal staff and stage management are given full support as we begin rehearsing and performing scenes involving intimacy, sex, physical and sexual involve violence.”

He said Rc-Annie, the organization providing the coaching, will lead workshops that include setting boundaries and coaching on how to safely rehearse the scenes involving sexual content and violent exchanges.

“I believe this approach will equip our dancers and their coaches with the relevant skills to authentically portray the characters and scenes while maintaining a safe and respectful work environment,” added Hampson.


Scottish Ballet’s performance of The Scandal At Mayerling will be staged in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh (PA).

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“I’m proud that Scottish Ballet is investing in this much-needed training and look forward to how it will help us grow as we develop our repertoire for the future.”

Set in 1889, the Mayerling Scandal tells the true story of the anti-hero Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, who enjoyed the privileges of a royal lifestyle.

But with it came lovers, alcohol and drugs in excess, and as his sanity rapidly declined, he developed a morbid fascination with death.

The “scandal” erupted when he and his teenage lover, Mary Vetsera, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide at the imperial hunting lodge of Mayerling in the woods outside of town.

The original Mayerling production premiered at the Royal Ballet in 1978.

Scottish Ballet’s production of the spectacle will premiere in Glasgow in April before touring to Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Scottish Ballet uses intimacy coaches to prepare for violent and erotic scenes

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