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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Boston Ballet

The heart of Boston Ballet’s mission is to inspire, nurture, and sustain the love of dance for all. Diversity, equity, and inclusivity are central to realizing that mission. Boston Ballet is deeply committed to this work and to creating real organizational change to be truly welcoming to all. Learn more about the important institution-wide work in progress.

Dance Education for All
Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives (ECI) department has created the ECI Toolbox highlighting educational materials on racial equity and justice in dance and our communities. A collection compiled by Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MOB Ballet) and The Equity Project is also available.

Established in 1991, Citydance annually provides up to 3,000 third grade students from more than 130 Boston Public School Classrooms with a tuition-free introduction to dance and ballet. Our approach cultivates an appreciation of movement, enhances cultural awareness, and fosters creativity and self-expression.

ECI on Location partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and community centers to provide hundreds of students with tuition-free dance education. In addition, all ECI on Location students have opportunities during the year to attend free Boston Ballet performances at the Citizens Bank Opera House.

Since 2002, the Adaptive Dance Program provides creative movement instruction for individuals with disabilities ages 2 through adult. Classes are taught by expert faculty and supported by licensed physical therapists and professional musicians. Students can engage and explore in a safe and supported student environment as they develop movement, musicality, and personal growth.

The Equity Project
In 2018, Boston Ballet announced that it joined The Equity Project, a partnership program with Dance Theatre of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance, and Dance/USA. This project brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 professional ballet organizations across North America for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing diversity in all areas of ballet. As part of this project, Boston Ballet dedicated a cross-departmental senior team to examine all facets of hiring, training, audience engagement, and student experience.

Institutional Changes
Boston Ballet is committed to increasing historically underrepresented artistic voices on the main stage. Next season, the ChoreograpHER program and Stephen Galloway’s world premiere as part of the Off the Charts program are highlights of that commitment.

Boston Ballet has renamed its secondary board as "Board of Advisors" and removed the term "Overseer" in light of the word's historical connections to slavery. Leadership has also created an inclusion strategy to increase diversity on the Board of Advisors.

Last year, in order to promote a more inclusive and student-centered school environment, Boston Ballet School revised its dress code to allow students to self-select a tight, slipper, and pointe shoe color that best matches their natural skin tone or in which they feel most comfortable. Learn more about changes specifically at Boston Ballet School from Director Margaret Tracey.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee
Organizational change is ongoing and iterative. Boston Ballet’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee is charged with assisting the entire organization to become radically more welcoming and anti-racist.

Sponsored by Executive Director Max Hodges and Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, the committee’s members come from the Ballet’s staff, artists, faculty, board, and senior leadership. Alison Quirk (Board of Trustees, Vice Chair) and Dave Czesniuk (BBS Managing Director) are co-chairs of the committee.

The committee accepts and solicits feedback, sets priorities, and implements action items in service of sustainable change. If you have suggestions or feedback related to this work, please email at dei@bostonballet.org.

Our artist/athletes are always pushing themselves to the edge. That passion and energy is what makes watching them so exhilarating.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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