Ongoing Initiatives

Discover the latest updates on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America
Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen is honored to join his colleagues in a Pilot Program for African American Inclusion, dedicated to shaping tangible action plans that address inequities in our field. The companies and artists in this group have publicly committed to create equal access and opportunity for all young artists, and to create an atmosphere where aspiring young artists of all colors and race feel welcomed into the art form. Read the full statement of commitment and discover how Boston Ballet is helping to move ballet forward. 

Open House Series for Aspiring Black Dancers
In February 2021, Boston Ballet launched a series of virtual open houses created in partnership with the IABD. This series is designed to help young and aspiring African American and dancers of color enter into the professional dance field, get to know Boston Ballet, and feel welcomed into our organization. Stay tuned for upcoming open houses during the 2021–2022 season.

Boston Ballet stands with the Asian and Asian American (AAPI) community who has been impacted by the alarming surge of anti-Asian hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We strongly condemn acts of racism, hatred, or violence of any kind, and do not tolerate these injustices against our audiences, dancers, musicians, students, families, employees, Board members, partners, or volunteers. We are committed to using the power of our art, our platforms, and our voices to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces in our organization, in Boston, and on the global stage. 

We urge you to stand with us to #StopAAPIHate by sharing resources and becoming an advocate for reporting and stopping hate in our community.

  • Visit Stop AAPI Hate to report a hate incident, get safety tips for encountering or witnessing hate, and learn more about what is happening and why.

  • Visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission to download a Community Action Guide, sign up for bystander intervention training, report a local hate incident, and get more educational resources.

  • Amplify anti-hate solidarity and resources by using these hashtags on social media: #StopAAPIHate #ArtAndActivism #HonorAllOurElders.

Color Our Future Mentorship Program
Launched in November 2020, the Color Our Future Mentoring Program provides Pre-Professional Ballet students a space to continue exploring conversations related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. The goal for the program is to serve as a bridge between the professional and educational components of Boston Ballet and the performing arts world, empower our next generation to take actionable steps in their own environments, and help shape the future of the arts with an eye toward DEI.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee
In service of Boston Ballet’s mission, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee was launched in 2020 to assist the full organization with meaningful, essential growth.

The DEI Steering Committee is co-chaired by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Alison Quirk and BBS Managing Director Dave Czesniuk with Executive Sponsorship from Executive Director Max Hodges and Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. The committee includes members from across the organization’s staff, artists, faculty, orchestra, board, and senior leadership.

The committee was charged with examining Boston Ballet's mission, programs, and business to identify and implement improvements in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. If you have suggestions or feedback related to this work, please email

The Equity Project
In 2018, Boston Ballet announced that it joined The Equity Project, a partnership program with Dance Theatere of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance, and Dance/USA. This project brough together a cohort of artistic  and executive leaders from 21 professional ballet organizations across North America for in-person meetings and coachings, 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.

ChoreograpHER Initiative
In 2018, Boston Ballet launched the ChoreograpHER Initiative, which creates opportunities for female students and professional dancers to develop their choreographic skills by investing in the creation and staging of new works by female artists.

Dance Education for All
Established in 1991, Citydance annual 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 has provided 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.

In 2019, 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.

Institutional Language
Boston Ballet recognizes the ongoing need to reevaluate language through the lens of DEI. Considering the words' historical connection to slavery, our "Board of Advisors" has been renamed to remove the term "Overseer," and the role of "Rehearsal Director" has been renamed to remove the term "Master."

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