Ten Years of Next Generation

Boston Ballet School Staff

Mikko Nissinen rehearshing Raymonda Act III

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

The impact of Next Generation

We’re going back to the beginning and behind the scenes of Next Generation

Kathleen Mitchell with students

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Students at the barre

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Kathleen Mitchell with students

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Students at the barre

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Margaret Tracey’s vision

Next Generation is an annual year-end performance by Boston Ballet School Pre-Professional Program students and dancers from Boston Ballet II, Boston Ballet’s second Company. This event represents the rising stars of dance, and features musical accompaniment by Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

In 2009, Margaret Tracey, Director of Boston Ballet School, first introduced this unmatched opportunity for her Pre-Professional Program students. She wanted to give young artists the chance to experience a full, professional-level performance. Laura Young, senior faculty member, recalls “One of Margaret’s passions was to create a performance for our students, downtown, in a theater, and it’s happened for ten years now. Margaret is visionary and passionate about her projects and is determined to see them come to fruition.” Since its inception, this exclusive performance has been making all the difference for hundreds of young dance students.

Next Generation has all the makings of a full, professional level performance, and places Pre-Professional Program students and BBII on the Citizens Bank Opera House stage. It allows these talented students their first taste of the professional world. Former Pre-Professional Program student and current Boston Ballet Artist, Dawn Atkins reflects on her experience: “It’s full lights, full set, and stage crew. You work with the instructors that you work with in class, but in a completely different context. It’s really a growing experience for all the students. It has stuck with me my entire career.”

Boston Ballet School in Raymonda Act II

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

The future of dance

This year, as part of Boston Ballet’s ChoreograpHER Initiative to bring more female voices to the stage, female choreographers have been featured in BB@Home and Boston Ballet School’s Choreographic Project. Tracey, who has been a key supporter of the initiative, also wanted to showcase a female choreographer in this year’s Next Generation performance. “One of the highlights of the Company’s BB@home performance was the piece that Principal Dancer Lia Cirio created. It was her first time choreographing and I was so inspired by her work, her confidence, and her voice that I wanted to see more. So I invited her to create a piece for Next Generation.”

Lia Cirio’s premiere represents childhood dreams, and the experience of stepping on the stage for the very first time, especially fitting for Next Generation. Cirio describes her inspiration as “Pre-Professional Program students are about to embark on a ballet career. It’s about the journey of stepping out of the classroom and discovering the stage. Reflective of youth ambition, each section of the piece is loosely based on the beloved children’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.”

As Cirio’s second piece, she hopes its creation will help her grow as a choreographer and allow the students to discover their own openness to dance. “I’m still discovering my vocabulary, but it’s also really amazing to work with rising dancers and impart my knowledge of movement and dance. I hope they are open to learning something new and working directly with a choreographer. I think that’s really key when it comes to being in a company, where you’re most valuable when a choreographer sees that you are open.”

Along with Lia’s piece this anniversary year’s line-up is stellar, including Konservatoriet and William Tell pas de deux by August Bournonville and Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story,” featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and choreography by Bruce Wood®.

A lesson in professionalism, and a chance to grow as a young artist was at the heart of Tracey’s vision ten years ago. As the program continues to inspire students, artists, and audiences, Next Generation epitomizes the future of dance.

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

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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