by John Stoehr
From The New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution . . . —J.S.
The Atlanta Ballet is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor after a 17-year-old dancer wearing a panda costume fell about 12 feet into the orchestra pit last week during a performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The dancer, Leah Boresow, a high school senior, plunged into the empty orchestra pit and suffered serious injuries. She underwent spinal surgery on Wednesday and was reported to be in critical but stable condition at the Atlanta Medical Center, the Atlanta Ballet said in a statement. Andre Richards, director of the Atlanta West Office of OSHA, said, “Anytime we see a high-profile situation such as that, normally what we do is initiate an inspection.” He added, “We will probably take a look at the costume to see what level of vision that person had.” He said a week or two might pass before the inspector’s report would be available and any citations might be issued. Jeff Al-Mashat, a spokesman for the ballet, said precautions would be taken to keep the panda dancers safe for the remaining run of the ballet, continuing through Dec. 29. The Journal-Constitution reported that two days before her fall, Ms. Boresow told friends at Chattahoochee High School that she was concerned that she might fall off the stage because of the costume, which offered limited sight through a hole in the nose of the panda head.
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