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Learn about our commitment to this important institution-wide work in progress.
Boston Ballet is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the organization in order to realize our vision of a company, school, and community that is truly welcoming to all.
Boston Ballet acknowledges that we gather on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples, namely the Pawtucket, the Massachusett, and their neighbors the Wampanoag, and Nipmuc Peoples. We give our gratitude to the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather. We recognize this as a part of our core belief in the transformative power of dance and our commitment to educating, enriching, and healing our community.
For information on resources and services provided by the Commission on Indian Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, please visit the COMMISSION ON INDIAN AFFAIRS, STATE OF MA.
DEFINITION OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is central to realizing BOSTON BALLET’S MISSION to inspire, empower, and deepen community through dance. Our goal is to be relevant to and reflective of the community we serve; recognize value in all voices; create welcoming experiences that connect, inspire, and enrich our community; communicate with honesty, clarity and transparency; and listen carefully to one another in order to honor our varying perspectives and lived experiences.
At Boston Ballet, diversity is respecting the intersection of varied differences and identities in our society, including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, nationality, culture, socio-economic status, and parental status. We define equity as the quality of being just, impartial, transparent, and fair to ensure everyone has equal opportunity in all levels of the organization—on and off stage. Inclusion means building a culture of belonging by engaging all voices in our organization and community.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION STRATEGIC PLAN
Boston Ballet is committed to creating internal organizational systems, processes, structures, and cultures that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We believe in taking intentional and actionable steps to address systemic racism, elitism, and exclusion in our organization, our industry, and our community.
Currently, organization-wide DEI efforts are organized around three strategic priorities:
Internal, cross-functional teams have set quantifiable goals, established baseline data, and prioritized projects for each strategic priority in consultation with external experts.
Beginning in 2023, Boston Ballet departments are responsible for the implementation of DEI initiatives, based on department scope and subject matter expertise. An Employee Council has been established to maintain the involvement of employee voice in DEI initiatives.
A DEI Steering Committee provides oversight, governance, and input. The DEI Steering Committee is co-chaired by Board of Advisors member Francis Taplett and BBS Managing Director Dave Czesniuk with Executive Sponsorship from Interim Executive Director Ming Min Hui and Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. The committee includes members from across the organization’s staff, artists, faculty, board, and senior leadership.
Theresa Ruth Howard, Cultural Competence and Equity Coalition
Boston Ballet is a member of the CULTURAL COMPETENCE AND EQUITY COALITION (C²EC), an international coalition of dance companies led by Theresa Ruth Howard, Diversity Strategist and Consultant and founder of MEMOIRS OF BLACKS IN BALLET. C²EC is a membership-based organization that supports the embodiment of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Cultural Competence (I.D.E.A. & C.C.) and works to transform the cultural norms within the classical arts. C²EC is a learning community providing the support, education, and advocacy organizations, leaders, artists, and creators need to reimagine and reshape the culture and the standards of classical arts.
The C²EC and its members work collaboratively to become anti-racist and embed the foundational tenets of I.D.E.A. & C.C. into their organizations and the field at large. Most importantly, C²EC provides a measure of accountability by encouraging members to exercise transparency not only within the Coalition, but with its employees, stakeholders, patrons, and the public.
C²EC has designed a Curriculum of Change that will address the needs of the field, from pipeline to performance, boardroom to box office and beyond. Its team of consultants, facilitators, and educators will engage members as a cohort and individually to influence organizational cultural reform.
Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America
Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen is a member of the Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America – Pilot Program for African American Inclusion. Since April of 2020, he and fellow Artistic Director colleagues and have been working together to discuss the current state and the future of the art form. Together, they shape tangible action plans and a statement of commitment to address inequities and inclusion. Companies and artists in this group have agreed to an initial step designed to create equal access and opportunity for all young artists, and where aspiring young artists of all colors and race feel welcomed into the art form. Participation, collaboration, and involvement by all will shape and define the ballet of the future. LEARN MORE about the coalition.
The Equity Project
In 2018, Boston Ballet announced that it joined THE EQUITY PROJECT, a partnership program with Dance Theater 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 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.
Phil Chan, Final Bow for Yellowface
Boston Ballet has 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.
Natalie Johnson & Jasmine Huang, Paradigm
Boston Ballet has engaged Natalie Johnson and Jasmine Huang of PARADIGM on ongoing, comprehensive DEI consulting services and training.
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.