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Discover some of the latest updates in our ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
Reimagining Narrative Ballets
A key component of advancing the artistic relevance of Boston Ballet is reimagining the traditional ballet canon.
Boston Ballet’s 2023–2024 season includes a 25-minute work of classical ballet known as Kingdom of the Shades. The ballet is a perfect example of how Boston Ballet is preserving the absolute best of ballet’s legacy while leaving behind the outdated and problematic storytelling of the ballet. Kingdom of the Shades is originally from Act III of La Bayadère. Learn why we have chosen not to perform the full ballet HERE.
Boston Ballet is also engaged in an ongoing effort to evolve the divertissements in Act II of The Nutcracker. We are partnering with voices from diverse cultures and affinity groups to advise us on the evolution of our choreography, as well as cultural representation on and off stage.
In Boston Ballet’s 2021 production of The Nutcracker, the Act II divertissements—which have historically leaned on cultural appropriation—shifted to a celebration of diversity, with respectful portrayals that honor unique cultural heritages. The Sugar Plum Fairy now reigns over the Kingdom of the Sweets, which is filled with cultural delicacies from around the world such as Spanish Coffee and French Marzipan.
The choreography for several divertissements has been updated. For example, the male and female roles in Arabian Chocolate are now portrayed as equals rather than relying on outdated gender dynamics. The organization has also been working with Phil Chan, co-founder of FINAL BOW FOR YELLOWFACE, and has signed a petition as a commitment to eliminate outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians on our stages. In 2018, Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen made changes to Nutcracker costumes and choreography to remove elements of racial stereotyping in the Chinese Tea dance. In the 2021-2022 season, Boston Ballet introduced new choreography inspired by Chinese ribbon dancing traditions. We plan to reimagine Chinese Tea on a larger scale in the years ahead.
Commissioning Historically Underrepresented Voices
Boston Ballet is committed to commissioning new works that amplify historically underrepresented artistic voices and repertoire that highlights stories and causes.
Boston Ballet and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) collaborated to create the world premiere of La Mer. Choreogaphed by Nanine Linning, this contemporary ballet fuses art and science to explore the nature of threats facing the ocean, as well as the potential to create solutions to our most challenging environmental and societal problems. Both organizations believe that the creative drive inherent in both the arts and sciences to learn more about the world around us can be the basis for positive change worldwide. The ballet inspires curiosity about our shared ocean planet and raises hope for a sustainable future for all.
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.
ÜNI Public Art
ÜNI PUBLIC ART is Boston Ballet’s immersive 360-degree pop-up experience designed to make our art more inclusive, welcoming, and available to all. Boston Ballet’s ÜNI public art installation offers a portal to dance through new media. It is a unique public art experience that is both intimate and a sculptural spectacle for the senses. The pop up has been featured at community events around Boston including Grove Hall and Dorchester’s Open Streets festivals.
When selecting choreographers, collaborators, and artists to participate in the development of ÜNI, Boston Ballet focused on highlighting the work of underrepresented voices within the world of dance. ÜNI was born of the idea that dance should be inclusive, welcoming and available to all, and the diverse array of partners that brought this project to life is an extension of that vision.
BOSTON BALLET SCHOOL INITIATIVES
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.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Boston Ballet School welcomes students of all ages and abilities to dance with us. Financial aid and scholarships are available as part of our mission to provide access to the arts and dance education. 11% of Boston Ballet School students receive financial support to cover 10-100% of tuition, and merit-based scholarships are offered for students in the Professional Division. Learn more about FINANCIAL AID AT BOSTON BALLET SCHOOL.
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.