Feds Inspect Atlanta’s Fox Theatre After Dancer Seriously Injured in Fall

December 11, 2007

Federal authorities want to know if sufficient safety programs were in place before a 17-year-old ballet dancer was seriously injured in a fall during a recent performance at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta

The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration sent an inspector to the venue on Thursday and again on Friday, agency official Andre Richards told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We’re looking at hazards, number one,” Richards said. “One thing we’re going to be looking at is fall protection. We’ll do an assessment to see what sort of safety programs they have. We probably will take a look at the costume to see what level of vision that person had.”

The inspector’s report was expected to take a week or two to complete. It was not known yet whether any citations would be issued.

Leah Boresow, a high school senior from Alpharetta, was wearing a panda costume when she fell about 12 feet into the empty orchestra pit, sustaining serious injuries, during last Sunday’s matinee of “The Nutcracker” at the Fox Theatre.

She remained in critical but stable condition at an Atlanta hospital on Friday. She underwent spinal surgery, the Atlanta Ballet said in a statement.

A ballet spokesman said the company is the focus of the OSHA investigation. Extra precautions were being taken to keep the panda dancers safe throughout the remainder of the show, which ends Dec. 29, he said.

The precautions include raising the orchestra pit to a higher level, providing dedicated guides to assist the panda dancers, and making some modifications to the panda costume.

Boresow reportedly told friends before the accident that she was worried she might fall off the stage because of the costume, which had a full head and a hole in the nose used to see out of the costume.

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