The Boston Ballet is an American professional classical ballet company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company, founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams, and Sydney Leonard, was the first professional repertory ballet company in New England. Boston Ballet’s national and international reputation developed under the leadership of Artistic Directors Violette Verdy (1980–1984), Bruce Marks (1985–1997), and Anna-Marie Holmes (1997–2000). Today, Boston Ballet is one of the major ballet companies in North America and among the top companies in the world. Current Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen was selected to lead Boston Ballet in September 2001. Under his artistic direction, Boston Ballet maintains an internationally recognized repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to masterworks by George Balanchine, to new works and world premieres by contemporary choreographers. Nissinen leads the company, and Boston Ballet School, the largest ballet school in North America, with Executive Director Meredith (Max) Hodges.
In 1979, Boston Ballet opened the Nervi Festival in Italy, and in 1980 was the first American dance company to perform in the People's Republic of China. The Company made its London premiere in 1981, with a full-length production of Swan Lake. In 1983, Boston Ballet presented Don Quixote on Broadway with Rudolf Nureyev as special guest artist, after touring the United States, Mexico, France, and Italy. Boston Ballet collaborated with choreographer Mark Morris for the first time in 1986, performing his Mort Subite at the PepsiCo Festival in Purchase, New York. The following year Boston Ballet was the first ballet company to perform at the BESSIE Dance and Performance award ceremony at New York City Center. Boston Ballet was the first major dance company to commission works from contemporary choreographers Mark Morris, Susan Marshall, Ralph Lemon, Elisa Monte, and Helen Pickett.
In May 1990, Natalia Dudinskaya and Konstantin Sergeyev, along with then-assistant artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes, staged a new production of Swan Lake featuring Boston Ballet dancers performing the leading roles with dancers from the Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. In recent years, the Company has added James Kudelka’s Cinderella, George Balanchine’s Coppélia, Jewels, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, the American premiere of Jirí Kylián’s Black and White and John Cranko's Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet to its repertoire.
Boston Ballet made its debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, in January 1990. In July 1991, Boston Ballet toured throughout Spain. During the summer of 2007, the Company completed a second tour of Spain to audience and critical acclaim. Boston Ballet’s most recent touring has included appearances at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series, the "Fall for Dance" festivals held at New York City Center and Orange County Performing Arts Center, as well as back-to-back performances at the Spoleto Festival USA and the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series in Spring 2008. Boston Ballet embarked on its first tour to Seoul, Korea in the summer of 2008, presenting a range of works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, never before seen by Korean audiences.
In fall 2009, Boston Ballet's sole performance venue became the Boston Opera House. Located in the Boston Theater District, this 2,500-seat theater provides clear sightlines and has a newly renovated orchestra pit.
Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire that combines classics such as Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide; along with contemporary versions of classics, such as Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake, and John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet; plus with new works by contemporary choreographers including William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Mark Morris, David Dawson, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Wheeldon, and Helen Pickett. Boston Ballet appointed Jorma Elo as Resident Choreographer in 2005. Since then, Elo has created six works for the company, including Plan to B, Brake the Eyes, and Le Sacre du Printemps. In 2009, the New York Times hailed Boston Ballet’s repertoire as “one of the most eclectic in the country”.
Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker has been performed annually for 42 years. Over 35 performances employ the talents of the entire company and more than 250 Boston Ballet School students who join in the production every year.
Boston Ballet operates Boston Ballet School with more than 3,000 students at four locations in Boston, Newton, Norwell, and Marblehead for ages 2 through adult. The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education offers numerous educational and outreach activities for the community. Collectively, programs include Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance in partnership with Children’s Hospital Boston. Boston Ballet’s outreach programs reach over 7,000 children each year.
Boston Ballet’s headquarters at 19 Clarendon Street in Boston’s South End neighborhood is one of the largest and best-equipped dance spaces in the country. Designed by architect Graham Gund, this five-story, 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) building is an important hub for dance in New England.
Company dancers of the Boston Ballet for the 2015-2016 season are:
The dancers of Boston Ballet II for the 2015-2016 season are:
Background: Boston Ballet School, was founded in 1979 by E. Virginia Williams. The program was officially incorporated as Boston Ballet School in 1979 and since then has grown from a small, regional dance studio into a dance education institution that now also includes Outreach programs like Citydance, Adaptive Dance, and Taking Steps and summer programs like Summer Dance Program and Summer Dance Workshop. Each year select students from Boston Ballet School perform in productions with the company including The Nutcracker in which more than 250 Boston Ballet School students rehearse and perform every year.
Enrollment: Students aged nine and older with previous ballet training, are required to take a placement class to determine the level of study best suited to their abilities. Group placement classes are typically held at each studio beginning May through August for September enrollment. Students ages two through eight are placed by age.
Facilities & Locations: Basic ballet classes for students of all ages are offered in the Ballet’s Boston studio located in the South End, the Newton Studio in the MetroWest, and the Marblehead Studio on the North Shore. Each state-of-the-art facility is temperature-controlled for comfort, and each features convenient dressing rooms and lounges.
Director, Boston Ballet School: Margaret Tracey Principals: Tamara King, MetroWest Studio, Jessica Kreyer, North Shore Studio.
Friends of Boston Ballet is a membership program which provides unrestricted annual operating support that funds the Company's on stage work, and its wide range of education and outreach programs.