Boston Ballet in the Community

Students engaging in creative movement during an ECI on Location class, photo by Liza Voll

Students engaging in creative movement during an ECI on Location class

Photo by Liza Voll

Find out what Boston Ballet's teaching artists are up to around the city in 2021.

Students participating in ECI on Location

Photo by Liza Voll

Citydance 2021 students participating virtually in Chu Ling's class on traditional Chinese Fan Dance

Photo courtesy of Chu Ling

Students participating in ECI on Location

Photo by Liza Voll

Citydance 2021 students participating virtually in Chu Ling's class on traditional Chinese Fan Dance

Photo courtesy of Chu Ling

Dance for All

Boston Ballet, through the Education & Community Initiatives (ECI) department, works to bring positive, relevant experiences with dance into more spaces and to more people across Boston. Led by Alicia Greene, Assistant Principal, Community Education, our teaching artists and program staff have been hard at work to continue this mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about our flagship programs below, and how they’ve been adapted to the challenges of this past year.

 

ECI on Location

ECI on Location places Boston Ballet teaching artists at schools and community centers throughout Boston for 30-week dance programs each year. The flexible curriculum is rooted in state and national dance education standards, and focuses on foundational ballet as well as creative movement, composition, and contemporary fusion styles. Student voice is central to all ECI on Location classes.

This year, as many community partners focused on health protocols and subsequently paused some programming, ECI on Location looks a little different. Teaching artists Lonnie Stanton and Mary Teuscher, both contemporary dance artists and educators in Boston, have been leading revamped, weekly virtual classes for three of our Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston partner sites - the Yawkey Club of Roxbury, the Charlestown Club, and the Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club in Dorchester.  

Lonnie, who has been incorporating yoga, contemporary dance, and Haitian folk dance elements into her energetic classes, explained, “With a virtual setting, my approach has been centered around the power of dance as a tool to connect. The goals in my class: To find joy, to grow body awareness, to support self-expression, and to be in community with others.”  

In addition, teaching artist Erin McNulty has continued working with the Roxbury Latin School, a historic all-boys school located in West Roxbury. The 2019-2020 school year marked the first time Roxbury Latin offered dance as part of its arts curriculum, with ECI leading class for the school’s seventh graders alongside Digital Design and Sculpture courses. This year, Erin is collaborating and co-teaching with Boston Ballet School faculty member Igor Burlak to deliver classes remotely within Roxbury Latin’s hybrid model.

Teaching associate and Roxbury Latin alum Michael Beam has been supervising students taking the virtual classes on-site at school. “This class has challenged students to bring intention to their movement in a way that is curious, playful, and vulnerable. Our instructors' charisma more than compensates for the remote format, creating a moment that is such a welcome change from the rest of the school day," shared Mr. Beam.

Citydance students dancing in studio (2019), photo by Liza Voll

Citydance students dancing in studio (2019)

Photo by Liza Voll

Workshops & New Partners

Boston Ballet also develops new programs and one-time workshops for a variety of regional partners, this year including virtual offerings for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and Home Base Veteran & Family Care. In past years, classes and programs have also been delivered to Boston Public Libraries, Boston Children’s Hospital, YWCA chapters, and much more.

 

Citydance

Citydance, founded in 1991, is a partnership program with Boston Public Schools that engages up to 3,000 third graders annually with a tuition-free introduction to dance.

This fall, teaching artists delivered virtual movement workshops via Zoom to 80 third-grade classes attending school from home. For the first time, BPS teachers were also given the opportunity of signing up for a “Meet The Dancer” session, where a company dancer or faculty member Zoomed in to answer student questions and share about their journey as a professional dancer.

Company soloist and Citydance alum Isaac Akiba spoke at several of these sessions. “My favorite part of meeting the hundreds of gleaming Boston Public School students was watching their priceless expressions as I played the Russian dance from The Nutcracker,” said Isaac. “At the end, they applauded just like we were all sitting together at the Opera House.”

“Act II” of Citydance typically runs for 10 weeks beginning in late January, when over 300 selected students from the fall workshops are bused to Boston Ballet once a week to take a ballet class and a Dance Discovery class in a variety of rotating genres. Act II participants are also eligible to apply for the Raising the Barre scholarship, which provides free tuition for a subsequent year of Boston Ballet School programming.

In 2021, Act II took place virtually, with ballet classes led by Boston Ballet School faculty. Other changes include the addition of West African dance and Indian dance to the Dance Discovery offerings (joining Haitian Folkloric, Modern, Musical Theater, Chinese Fan Dance, Afro Latin, and Hip Hop, all taught by guest master teachers from around the Boston area). For the first time, a student-driven creative composition element was added to the curriculum as well to deepen learning and showcase student individuality.

The illusion we create is intended to deepen your understanding of reality.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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Follow Second Soloist Corina Gill and see what it takes to train as a Boston Ballet dancer.
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Video by Ian Travis Bernard

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#SupportBB
Video by Ian Travis Bernard