Boston Ballet

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Boston Ballet
General information
NameBoston Ballet
Year founded1963; 61 years ago (1963)
FounderE. Virginia Williams
Principal venueBoston Opera House
Senior staff
Executive DirectorMing Min Hui
DirectorMikko Nissinen
Assistant DirectorRussell Kaiser
Company managerVeronica Horne
Artistic staff
Music DirectorMischa Santora
Resident ChoreographersJorma Elo
Stephen Galloway
Helen Pickett
Official schoolBoston Ballet School
Boston Ballet dancers perform Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies (1937) under the direction of Tudor expert Donald Mahler in 2008.

The Boston Ballet is an American professional classical ballet company based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams[1] and Sydney Leonard, and was the first professional repertory ballet company in New England. It has been led by Violette Verdy (1980–1984), Bruce Marks (1985–1997), and Anna-Marie Holmes (1997–2000). Mikko Nissinen was appointed artistic director in September 2001.



In 1956, E. Virginia Williams moved the ballet school she founded from a studio in Back Bay to 186 Massachusetts Avenue, across from the Loew's State Theatre in Boston. At this point in time, the school offered classes starting at a children's level all the way to a professional division.

In 1958, out of her Boston School of Ballet (which was sometimes called The New England School of Ballet), E. Virginia Williams formed a small dance group named The New England Civic Ballet. The group primarily performed at small local festivals and venues around New England.[2]

From 1958-1962, the New England Civic Ballet performed regionally, dancing various pieces such as a three-act Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, and repertory works by E. Virginia Williams, Sydney Leonard, Lev Ianov, and Jean Paige.[2]

In August 1962, the New England Civic Ballet performed as part of the 30th year of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. At this point, the New England Civic Ballet was considered a semi-professional company and began calling themselves the Boston Ballet.

In December 1963, The Boston Globe reported that a Ford Foundation grant of US$144,000 to the Boston Ballet School had given birth to Boston's first and only professional ballet company. The total Ford Grant was $7,756,000, the largest private subsidy made to a single art form at the time. In part, based on the recommendations of George Balanchine and W. McNeil Lowry, the grant provided for the formation of several professional ballet companies. This included the Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Washington Ballet. Balanchine was a strong supporter of this initiative. He was Boston Ballet's artistic advisor for several years and gave the new company several of his works.[3]


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.[4][5] The Company made its London premiere in 1981, with a full-length production of Swan Lake.[5] In 1983, Boston Ballet presented Don Quixote on Broadway with Rudolf Nureyev as a guest artist, after touring the United States, Mexico, France, and Italy. Boston Ballet performed Mark Morris's Mort Subite at the PepsiCo Festival in Purchase, New York in 1986,[5] and performed at the BESSIE Dance and Performance award ceremony at New York City Center in 1987.


Boston Ballet made its debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, in January 1990. Thay May Natalia Dudinskaya, Konstantin Sergeyev, and assistant artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes staged a new production of Swan Lake with Boston Ballet dancers performing with dancers from the Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet.[citation needed] In 1991, Boston Ballet moved into their current headquarters at 19 Clarendon Street in Boston's South End,[6] after touring throughout Spain in July.


In 2005, the company added James Kudelka's Cinderella, George Balanchine's Coppélia, Jewels, Midsummer Night's Dream, the American premiere of Jirí Kylián's Black and White, John Cranko's Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, and Romeo and Juliet to its repertoire. Boston Ballet additionally appointed Jorma Elo as its resident choreographer. Elo created at least six works for the company, including Plan to B, Brake the Eyes, and Le Sacre du Printemps. During the summer of 2007, the company completed a second tour of Spain. Boston Ballet's touring 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, and performances at the Spoleto Festival USA and the Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America series in the spring of 2008. Boston Ballet embarked on its first tour to Seoul, South Korea in the summer of 2008, presenting works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon not previously performed there.[citation needed] In the fall of 2009, Boston Ballet's sole performance venue became the Boston Opera House.[7]

Since 2010[edit]

Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire that includes classics such as Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty and August Bournonville's La Sylphide, contemporary versions of classics such as Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake and John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, and works by contemporary choreographers including William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Mark Morris, David Dawson, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Wheeldon, and Helen Pickett. Over 35 performances employ the entire company and more than 250 Boston Ballet School students who join in the production every year. Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker has been performed annually since 1963.[8]

Boston Ballet II[edit]

Boston Ballet has no official apprentice company. However, they have a secondary company, Boston Ballet II (BBII). For some Boston Ballet II dancers, their work in BBII is their first paid dancer experience.[9] BBII members usually practice with the main company, and perform in some of the main company productions and in some of their own productions.[10]

Boston Ballet School[edit]

The Boston Ballet School (BBS) continues to operate as part of Boston Ballet. The program was officially incorporated as Boston Ballet School in 1979. The studio serves male and female ballet students starting at age 3. The BBS is the largest dance school in North America, providing professional dance education at locations in Boston, Newton, and specialized training at Walnut Hill School For Performing Arts.[11]

Boston Ballet Studios[edit]

Clarendon Street Boston Ballet School Headquarters: The main studio location of the Boston Ballet School. The Clarendon Street Studio also acts as the Headquarters for the school and the greater company, including administrative offices and the marketing team. The Clarendon Street Studio is also home to the Pre-Professional Program.[12]

Newton Boston Ballet School: Originally based in Norwell, Massachusetts, the newer Newton studio opened its doors in August 2017.

Marblehead Boston Ballet School: Located on the second floor of the Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead Massachusetts, the third studio was opened in 2009. It was the smallest of the three studios and closed in 2021.[13][14]

Specialized Programs[edit]

Pre-Professional Program at Boston Ballet School: The pre-professional program at the Boston Ballet is a steppingstone to the professional company. It is not the same as Boston Ballet II. It is competitive and accepts about 80 students a year. Students worldwide participate in this program and train directly under the head of the Boston Ballet School and the professional company members.[15] The program is delivered at and in partnership with Walnut Hill School for the Arts for students in grades 9-12. Pre-Professional students occasionally perform in Boston Ballet company performances.

Boston Ballet School and Walnut Hill School For Performing Arts: Walnut Hill Academy for the Performing Arts will utilize Boston Ballet School's teachers and students while offering access to Walnut Hill School's academic curriculum, housing, and facilities. The new partnership focused exclusively on Boston Ballet School's pre-professional division, currently made up of 81 students - the school's smallest branch.[16]

Citydance: A community program established in 1991 which introduces third-grade students from Boston Public Schools to a free introduction to dance and movement. Citydance faculty travel to Boston Public School classrooms to host an introductory dance workshop. After this introduction, select students are invited to the Clarendon Street Boston Ballet Studios for additional dance and ballet training.[17] Students who choose to continue their training at the Boston Ballet following Citydance receive free tuition for the remainder of their tenure at the Boston Ballet School.[18]


Principal Dancers[edit]

Dancer Nationality Training Joined Boston Ballet Promoted to Principal Other Companies
Ji Young Chae  South Korea Seoul Arts High School
Korea National University of Arts
2013 2018 Washington Ballet
Jeffrey Cirio  United States Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
Boston Ballet School
Orlando Ballet School
2009, 2022 2012, N/A, Rejoined as Principal American Ballet Theatre
English National Ballet
Lia Cirio Swarthmore Ballet Theatre
Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
2004 2010
Paul Craig Conservatory of Dance
Virginia School of the Arts
Boston Ballet School
2008 2017
Derek Dunn Edna Lee Dance Studio
The Rock School for Dance Education
2017 2018 Houston Ballet
Chyrstyn Mariah Fentroy Joffrey Ballet School 2017 2022 Dance Theatre of Harlem
Seo Hye Han  South Korea Korea National University of Arts 2012 2016 Universal Ballet Company
Viktorina Kapitonova  Russia Kazan Ballet School
Bolshoi Academy
2018 N/A, Joined as Principal Kazan Ballet
Stanislavsky Theatre Ballet
Ballett Zurich
Lasha Khozashvili  Georgia Vakhtang Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School 2010 N/A, Joined as Principal Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre
State Ballet of Georgia
Samsun Opera and Ballet Theater
John Lam  United States Marin Ballet
National Ballet School of Canada
2004 2014
Tigran Mkrtchyan  Armenia Armenian Ballet School
Zurich Dance Academy
2019 2020 Ballet Zurich
Chisako Oga  United States San Francisco Ballet School 2019 2023
Patrick Yocum Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School 2011 2017


Name Nationality Training Jointed Boston Ballet Promoted to Soloist
Isaac Akiba  United States Boston Ballet School 2009 2013
María Álvarez  Spain Mariemma Royal Conservatory
Carmina Ocean Dance School
2012 2022
Ángel García Molinero Real Conservatorio de Danza Mariemma 2021 N/A, Joined as Soloist
Lawrence Rines  United States School of American Ballet
The Rock School for Dance Education
2011 2019
Haley Schwan  United States Kirov Academy of Ballet
Vaganova Ballet Academy
2017 2022
Addie Tapp  United States Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts
Glenwood Dance Academy
School of American Ballet
2014 2019

Second Soloists[edit]

Name Nationality Training Joined Boston Ballet Promoted to Second Soloist
Michaela DePrince  Sierra Leone The Rock School for Dance Education
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School
2021 N/A, Joined as Second Soloist
Daniel Randall Durrett  United States Dr. Lyrica Joy Ministries Ballet School
UpTown Arts
Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy
2017 2022
Lauren Herfindahl Boston Ballet School 2013 2017
Sun Woo Lee  South Korea Korea National Institute for the Gifted Arts
Yewon School
Seoul Arts High School
Korea National University of Arts
2018 2020
Soo-bin Lee Korea National Ballet Academy
Sunhwa Arts School
Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts
Korea National University of Arts
2019 2020
Nina Matiashvili  Georgia V. Chabukiana Tbilisi State Ballet School 2016 2022

Corps de Ballet (Artists)[edit]

  • Rasmus Ahlgren
  • Matthew Bates
  • Kaitlyn Casey
  • Ekaterine Chubinidze
  • Tyson Ali Clark
  • Daniel Cooper
  • Finn Duggan
  • Daniela Fabelo
  • Madysen Felber
  • Henry Griffin
  • Louise Hautefeuille
  • Sage Humphries
  • Graham Johns
  • SeokJoo Kim
  • Sangmin Lee
  • Nikolai Mamalakis
  • Abigail Merlis
  • Merritt Moore
  • Kyra Muttilainen
  • Deanna Pearson
  • Alainah Grace Reidy
  • Alec Roberts
  • Daniel Rubin
  • Crystal Serrano
  • Johanna Sigurdardottir
  • Gearoid Solan
  • My'Kal Stromile
  • Demi Trezona
  • Ao Wang
  • Schuyler Wijsen
  • Nations Wilkes-Davis

Boston Ballet II[edit]

  • Emily Aston
  • Grace Boyd
  • Aidan Buss
  • Cassidy Cail
  • Kylie Dyson
  • Sumin Lee
  • Alexa Malone
  • Austen McDonald
  • Wesley Miller
  • Alexander Nicolosi
  • Justin Pidgeon
  • Sydney Santo Domingo
  • Samuel Yuan

Boston Ballet Graduate Program[edit]

  • Carly Bartel
  • Julia Brunner
  • Ashley Chong
  • Vera Cortell
  • Daisy De Luca
  • Benjamin Dunlap
  • Chloe Han
  • Sophie Hatton
  • Sydnie Holmes
  • Jasmine Kang
  • Thomas Jagger McCarthy
  • Jack Owen
  • Aston Purnell
  • Amber Skaggs
  • Lily Stephenson


  1. ^ NY Times obituary of Virginia Williams by Jennifer Dunning, May 9, 1984]
  2. ^ a b "The 1950s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "The 1960s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  4. ^ "Boston Ballet - Boston Ballet on Tour".
  5. ^ a b c "Behind the Scenes - Boston Ballet History of the 1980s".
  6. ^ "The 1990s". Boston Ballet. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  7. ^ "Entering first full season at Opera House, Boston Ballet finds it's a good fit - The Boston Globe". August 7, 2015. Archived from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  8. ^ "Boston Ballet - The Rich Legacy of Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker". Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  9. ^ "Second Companies: Boston Ballet II and meeting tomorrow's dancers". Dance Informa Magazine. February 7, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  10. ^ "In the Studio with Boston Ballet II: Follow These Motivated Stars of Tomorrow Through a Day in the Life". Pointe Magazine. July 15, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  11. ^ "Boston Ballet School". Boston Magazine. March 30, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  12. ^ "Boston Ballet Company Headquarters". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  13. ^ "Inside the Boston Ballet School". Northshore Magazine. April 20, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  14. ^ "Boston Ballet Moves Out of Marblehead YMCA Space". Northshore Magazine. January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  15. ^ Klein, Leah (May 29, 2018). "Beyond Waiting in the Wings: Boston Ballet School's Next Generation ⋆ City Living (Boston)". City Living (Boston). Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "Boston Ballet School and Walnut Hill Are Merging Their High School Pre-Professional Programs". Pointe. December 19, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  17. ^ "Citydance". Boston Ballet. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  18. ^ "Watch the 'Boston Ballet Citydance: 30 Years of Movement' Documentary". NBC Boston. August 19, 2022. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  • Boston Phoenix, interview with Mikko Nissinen, August 29, 2011
  • NY Times, "Violette Verdy Joining Boston Ballet..." August 21, 1979
  • Morris, Marie. (September 12, 2006). Frommer's Boston. Boston: Frommer's; Pap/Map edition.

External links[edit]