Berlin - The Staatsballett Berlin and a dancer who accused the company of racism - Chloé Lopes Gomes - have reached a settlement that will give Gomes her job back as well as modest damages.
Gomes, who sued the Staatsballett for discrimination after her limited contract wasn't extended, has now had her contract extended by another year and will get €16,000 as compensation for the alleged racism. She first began dancing there in 2008.
"During these two and a half years, I was supervised by a director who said the Staatsballet shouldn't take me because I'm Black - and that having a woman like me in a company is something unaesthetic, different," Gomes told state broadcaster Deutsche Welle. "She made racist jokes and comments."
Gomes' case received widespread media attention late last year after she claimed the Staatsballet made her wear white make-up in a production of Swan Lake to hide her skin colour. The Staatsballet said it had decided not to renew her contract for artistic reasons.
A turbulent year
The head of Berlin's stage arbitration court, Gerhard Binkert, had urged both sides to reach an agreement rather than go to trial - the racism accusations then would have had to be proven in court.
In addition to the racism accusations, co-directors Johannes Öhman and Sasha Waltz left the Staatsballett abruptly last year after just six months together. The duo were hired as a political decision and reportedly enjoyed little popularity among the troupe.
Gomes, a 29-year-old French national, was the first-ever Black dancer at the company when she joined but said she faced hostility from the start. During rehearsals she said she was subjected to racist comments from the dance director and repeatedly heard accusations that her skin colour was the only reason she attracted attention.
She remained mum on the alleged discrimination until the company refused to renew her contract, in part because dancers always only receive year-long contracts and fear losing their jobs.
Although the Staatsballett reacted indifferently to the individual accusations, it has since pledged to hold sensitivity classes and create a code of conduct to prohibit similar events in the future.