Boston Ballet's internationally acclaimed performances, world-class school programs, and ground-breaking community outreach programs have made the institution a leader in its field and one of the major dance companies in the world with a 52-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance.
The Company, made up of 69 dancers and 20 nationalities, performs a diverse and acclaimed repertoire ranging from full-length classical ballets to masterworks by George Balanchine, and new works and world premieres by today's finest contemporary choreographers. Boston Ballet School is one of the largest ballet schools in the world, with education programs taking place throughout New England and pre-professional training of the highest caliber.
Boston Ballet is the major center for dance in New England. The company performs its full season at the historic, 2,500 seat Boston Opera House and resides in a state-of-the-art facility in Boston's South End designed by architect Graham Gund. Boston Ballet also has national and international touring engagements including, 2014 Lincoln Center, 2014 Kennedy Center, 2013 London, England, 2012 Helsinki, Finland, 2010 and 2007 Spain, 2010 Ottawa, Canada, and 2008 Seoul, Korea, as well as performances at the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series, the Fall for Dance festival at New York City Center, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Spoleto Festival USA, and The Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America series in 2008 and 2013.
Boston Ballet is committed to maintaining a repertoire that combines timeless classics such as Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty, August Bournonville's La Sylphide, Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake, and John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, with the imaginative visions of today's most innovative choreographers including Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo, as well as William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, David Dawson, Christopher Wheeldon, and Helen Pickett. In 2009, The New York Times hailed Boston Ballet's repertoire as "one of the most eclectic in the country," and in 2010 as having dancers that are "striking by national and international standards."
Boston Ballet's award-winning The Nutcracker, choreographed by Nissinen, is a tradition in New England. Over 40 performances employ the talents of the entire company and more than 240 Boston Ballet School students who perform in the production every year. In 2009 Boston Ballet's TheNutcracker was voted 'Best-Loved Nutcracker Production in the U.S.'
Boston Ballet is a leading source of arts education and cultural enrichment to New England and the world through Boston Ballet School, led by Nissinen and Boston Ballet School Director Margaret Tracey. Boston Ballet School reaches more than 5,000 students at locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead for ages two through adult, at all experience levels. Boston Ballet School offers intensive and pre-professional training with internationally renowned faculty through year-round and summer dance programs.
Boston Ballet's Department of Education and Community Initiatives (ECI) provides programming, events, and activities that connect the community to dance, make ballet relevant, and help cultivate a new generation of life-long arts advocates and participants. ECI reaches over 6,000 individuals in Boston, North Shore and the surrounding communities each year. ECI dance education programs include Citydance (for third graders in area public schools), ECI on Location (for individuals ages 10-adult at local schools and community sites), and Adaptive Dance (for individuals with disabilities ages 2-adult.) Other offerings include Community Workshops, subsided ticketing, creative partnerships, and an annual community performance at The Strand Theatre.
Boston Ballet's rich history begins in 1963, as the first professional repertory ballet company in New England founded by E. Virginia Williams. Boston Ballet's national and international reputation developed under the leadership of Artistic Directors Violette Verdy (1980-1984), Bruce Marks (1985-1997), and Anna-Marie Holmes (1997-2000). Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen was selected to lead Boston Ballet in September 2001. A dedicated group of Trustees is led by Board Chair Jack Meyer.
Throughout its history, Boston Ballet has been a leader in the arts. In 1979, Boston Ballet opened the Nervi Festival in Italy, and in 1980 was the first American dance company to perform in the People's Republic of China. The Company made its London premiere in 1981, with a full-length production of Swan Lake. In 1983, Boston Ballet presented Don Quixote on Broadway with Rudolf Nureyev as special guest artist, after touring the United States, Mexico, France, and Italy. Boston Ballet collaborated with choreographer Mark Morris for the first time in 1986. In May 1990, Natalia Dudinskaya and Konstantin Sergeyev, along with then-assistant artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes, staged a new production of Swan Lake featuring Boston Ballet dancers performing the leading roles with dancers from The Kirov Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet. This historic production attracted international attention.
In recent years, the Company has continued to add the best classical, neo-classical and contemporary works to its repertoire. Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo has created 12 world premieres for the company and in 2009 Boston Ballet became the first American company to perform Jiří Kylián's Black and White as well as his Bella Figura in 2010. Additionally, the company has made great strides with the creation of Adaptive Dance, an acclaimed program for individuals with disabilities. The first of its kind, the Adaptive Dance program has been a national model for dance education with sister programs at various dance companies and schools across the U.S.
Boston Ballet's achievements, coupled with the generous and prestigious support of local and national funding sources, have brought Boston Ballet to the forefront of the international dance scene.
Grand Défilé by Gene Schiavone.