Faculty Feature: Margaret Tracey

Boston Ballet Staff

Margaret Tracey Teaching class. Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Get to know Margaret Tracey, Director of Boston Ballet School and former principal dancer with New York City Ballet.

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Now regarded as one of the most admired and dedicated teachers of the ballet world, Margaret sat down to tell us more about her love of dance, finding her voice, and her transition from professional dancer to teacher.

How did you first become passionate about ballet?
I first became passionate about ballet as a young child. I was extremely shy, so when my mother took me to my first ballet class at age 6, I found my voice. I could express myself physically through music and movement, and to this day remember how empowered I felt in my very first class. I fell in love with the art form, and never left.

How did you transition to teaching?
My teachers and mentors saw that teaching was something they thought I might take to, so I was always encouraged to teach while I was still a professional dancer. I remember being sent over to the School of American Ballet while I was performing; the experience initially helped give me insight to my own dancing. When I retired from the stage as a professional, I began to accept teaching engagements and just absolutely fell passionately in love with the process of working with students.

What originally drew you to working at Boston Ballet School?
I started as a guest faculty member in 2005 for the Summer Dance Program (SPD), and I was immediately drawn to this school. I saw the potential of really building something exciting in those first couple summers that I spent here. The environment here was one of such respect between the faculty and the administration and the students and the musicians—that was so appealing to me.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching at Boston Ballet School?
The students. To know that you are contributing to a chapter of a student’s journey, whether it’s for five weeks during SDP, five years in the Classical Ballet Program, or five days a week in the Pre-Professional Division, is incredibly rewarding. The goal is to instill a lifelong passion and love for this art form no matter what they do with it. Whether a student becomes professional or not is not most important; most important and most rewarding is how the process of studying ballet changes, empowers, and impacts a person’s life.

Margaret Tracey Teaching class. Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

Photo credit: Igor Burlak Photography

What are you most excited about for the upcoming school year?
The new group of students I get to meet. Every year they’re different. I can’t wait to see them every September.

In your opinion, how is Boston Ballet School unlike other dance schools?
What is unique about Boston Ballet School is our commitment to delivering comprehensive dance education to a broad-based student body. We are as committed to our Pre-Professional Program as we are to our Children’s Program, our community work in the Classical Ballet Program, and our adult population. I think this commitment at each level, for each student and the experience at our school is a very unique model, and that’s what we should be most proud of at Boston Ballet School.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don’t know yet, I hope it’s yet to come.

What is your favorite ballet?
I absolutely do not have a favorite. It changes each season.

What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?
One of my favorite things to do in the Boston area with my family is to seek out and sample the best lobster rolls. That’s one of my favorite things. There are many others, but that’s the one I’ll leave you with.

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

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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