Boston Ballet

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Boston Ballet
General information
NameBoston Ballet
Year founded1963
FounderE. Virginia Williams
Principal venueBoston Opera House
Senior staff
Chief ExecutiveRyan Fotter
Executive DirectorMeredith Max Hodges
DirectorMikko Nissinen
Assistant DirectorRussell Kaiser
Company managerJuliana Jordan
Artistic staff
Deputy DirectorPeter Stark
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. The company, founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams,[1] 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). Current Artistic Director, Mikko Nissinen, was selected to lead Boston Ballet in September 2001.



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.[2][3] The Company made its London premiere in 1981, with a full-length production of Swan Lake.[3] 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.[3] 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 made its debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, in January 1990. In May of that same year, 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.[citation needed] In July 1991, Boston Ballet toured throughout Spain.


In 2005, the Company 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 additionally appointed Jorma Elo as Resident Choreographer. Elo has 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 to audience and critical acclaim. Boston Ballet’s past 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. There, they presented a range of works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, which had never before been seen by Korean audiences.[citation needed] 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 sight lines and has a newly renovated orchestra pit.[citation needed]

Recent Years[edit]

Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire that combines classics such as Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide. Other contemporary versions of classics, such as Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake, and John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet are included as well. New 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 for 42 years.

Boston Ballet II[edit]

Boston Ballet II (BBII) is Boston Ballet's secondary company, under the main company. This is because Boston Ballet has no official apprentice company. The work in BBII is paid. For some dancers, their work in BBII is their first paid dancer experience.[4] BBII members generally practice with the main company, and perform in some of the main company productions, as well as performing in some of their own productions.[5]

Boston Ballet School[edit]

Background: Boston Ballet School, was founded in 1979 by E. Virginia Williams. The program was officially incorporated as Boston Ballet School in 1979.

The Boston Ballet School (BBS) is an American ballet school based in Boston, Massachusetts. With three campus locations, the studio serves male and female ballet students, starting at age 3, across the greater Boston area. Founded by E. Virginia Williams in 1963, The Boston Ballet School was formerly the New England Civic Ballet. [6] The official School of Boston Ballet is also the largest dance school in North America. It provides unique dance experiences in a creative environment under the direction of professional dance education experts with three locations in Boston, Newton, and the North Shore. [7]

History of Boston Ballet School[edit]

1956: E. Virginia Williams moved her ballet school from a studio in Back Bay to 186 Massachusetts Avenue, across from the Lowes State Theatre in Boston. The School at this point offered classes starting at a children's level all the way to a Professional Division. The schools “fundamental purpose" was to provide its students with a training equivalent to that offered professional dancers by the great European ballet schools.

1958: Out of her Boston School of Ballet, 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. [8]

Between 1958 and 1962: The New England Civic Ballet performed regionally, dancing various pieces such as a 3 Act Nutcracker, Les Syphides, and repertory works by E. Virginia Williams, Sydney Leonard, Lev Ianov, Jean Paige. [9]

Aug 14, 1962: New England Civic Ballet performed as part of the 30th year of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. At this point, New England Civic Ballet was considered a semi-professional company, and began calling themselves “The Boston Ballet”. The performance was reviewed for Dance Magazine in October 1962 by Doris Hering. The review expressed that the Boston Ballet dancers perform with a cohesiveness of style that one rarely encounters even in a seasoned professional company and there is no artifice. Instead there is an ease of communication between them and the audience. [10]

Dec 15, 1963: The Boston Globe officially announced on December 15, 1963 that a Ford Foundation grant of $144,000 to the Boston Ballet School has given birth to Boston's first and only professional ballet company. The Ford Grant was a historic $7,756,000, the largest private subsidy made to single art form at the time. In part, based on the recommendations of George Balanchine and 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 would serve as Boston Ballet's artistic advisor for several years and as a further gesture of support gave the new company several of his works. [11]

Friends of Boston Ballet[edit]

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.

Boston Ballet Studios[edit]

Clarendon Street Boston Ballet School Headquarters: The original 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 of the Pre-Professional Program. [12]

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 is the smallest of the three studios. [13]

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

Pre-Professional Program at Boston Ballet School: The pre-professional program at the Boston Ballet is a stepping stone to the professional company. It is not the same as Boston Ballet II. Accepting only about 80 students a year, this program is highly exclusive and competitive. Students move from all over the U.S. and other countries to participate in this program and to train directly under the head of the Boston Ballet School, as well as the professional company members. [14] The program is delivered at and in partnership with Walnut Hill School for the Arts for students in grades 9-12. It is part of Boston Ballet School, and students pay tuition to attend. Pre-Professional students occasionally perform in Boston Ballet company performances.

Boston Ballet School and Walnut Hill School For Performing Arts: Although now put on pause as of autumn 2020, 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. [15]


Principal Dancers (2021-2022 Season)[16]
Dancer Hometown Years Active
Paulo Arrais Goiania, Brazil 2010-present
Ji Young Chae Seoul, South Korea 2013-present
Lia Cirio Springfield, PA, USA 2004-present
Paul Craig Manistee, MI, USA 2008-present
Derek Dunn Glen Burnie, MD, USA 2017-present
Ashley Ellis Torrance, CA, USA 2011-present
Seo Hye Han Seoul, South Korea 2013-present
Viktorina Kapitonova Chboksary, Russia 2018-present
Lasha Khozashvili Tbilisi, Georgia 2010-present
John Lam San Rafael, CA, USA 2004-present
Tigran Mkrtchyan Yerevan, Armenia 2019-present
Patrick Yocum Souderton, PA, USA 2011-present
Junxiong Zhao Chongqing, China 2014-present
Soloists (2021-2022 Season)[16]
Dancer Hometown Years Active
Isaac Akiba Boston, MA, USA 2009-present
Chyrstyn Mariah Fentroy Los Angeles, CA, USA 2017-present
Chisako Oga Carlsbad, CA, USA 2019-present
Patric Palkens Stoneham, MA, USA 2017-present
Lawrence Rines Philadelphia, PA, USA 2011-present
Irland Silva Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2011-present
Addie Tapp Glenwood Springs, CO, USA 2014-present
Second Soloists (2021-2022 Season)[16]
Dancer Hometown Years Active
Maria Alvarez Madrid, Spain 2012-present
Dawn Atkins Chesterfield, VA, USA 2013-present
Emily Entingh Orange County, CA, USA 2014-present
Lauren Herfindahl Kingston, MA, USA 2013-present
Soo-bin Lee Seoul, South Korea 2019-present
Sun Woo Lee Seoul, South Korea 2018-present
Haley Schwan Dearborn, MI 2017-present
Matthew Slattery Cooma, Australia 2014-present
Corps de Ballet (2020-2021 Season)
Dancer Hometown Years Active
Ekaterine Chubinidze Tbilisi, Georgia 2010-present
Tyson Ali Clark Somerville, MA, USA 2017-present
Daniel Cooper Winston-Salem, NC, USA 2005-present
Daniel Randall Durrett Cincinnati, OH, USA 2017-present
Madysen Felber Jacksonville, FL, USA 2019-present
Andres Garcia Austin, TX, USA 2014-present
Louise Hautefeuille Burlingame, CA, USA 2019-present
Emily Hoff Wellesley, MA, USA 2018-present
Sage Humphries Seal Beach, CA, USA 2017-present
Graham Johns Glen Ridge, NJ, USA 2017-present
Ryan Kwasniewski Cincinnati, OH, USA 2018-present
Sangmin Lee Seoul, South Korea 2019-present
Nina Matiashvili Tbilisi, Georgia 2016-present
Abigail Merlis Westport, CT, USA 2017-present
Molly Novak Santa Monica, CA, USA 2019-present
Benji Pearson Summit, NJ, USA 2018-present
Lily Price Winter Park, FL, USA 2019-present
Alec Roberts Adelaide, Australia 2016-present
Gearoid Solan Dublin, Ireland 2020-present
My'Kal Stromile Dallas, TX, USA 2018-present
Ao Wang Beijing, China 2020-present
Paula Waski Westport, CT, USA 2019-present
Nations Wilkes-Davis Columbia, SC, USA 2018-present
Boston Ballet II (2021-2022 Season)[17]
Dancer Hometown Years Active
Aviva Gelf-Mundl Tustin, CA, USA 2020-present
Henry Griffin Ambler, PA, USA 2021-present
Brooks Landegger New York, NY, USA 2020-present
Gabriel Lorena Sao Paulo, Brazil 2020-present
Soana Madsen Toulouse, France 2019-present
Nikolia Mamalakis Boston, MA, USA 2019-present
Alainah Grace Reidy Covington, LA, USA 2020-present
Leighton Taylor Charlotte, NC, USA 2020-present
Paul Zusi South Bend, IN, USA 2019-present



  1. ^ NY Times obituary of Virginia Williams by Jennifer Dunning, May 9, 1984]
  2. ^ "Boston Ballet - Boston Ballet on Tour".
  3. ^ a b c "Behind the Scenes - Boston Ballet History of the 1980s".
  4. ^ "Second Companies: Boston Ballet II and meeting tomorrow's dancers". Dance Informa Magazine. February 7, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ Conyers, Claude (February 23, 2011). Boston Ballet. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.a2092345.
  7. ^ "Boston Ballet School".|url-status=live|archive-url=|archive-date=|access-date=12 October 2020|website=Boston Magazine}}
  8. ^ "The 1950s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "The 1950s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  10. ^ "The 1960s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  11. ^ "The 1960s". Boston Ballet School. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  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. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Boston Ballet School and Walnut Hill Are Merging Their High School Pre-Professional Programs". Pointe. December 19, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c "Company". Boston Ballet. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "Boston Ballet II". Boston Ballet. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  18. ^ Campbell, Karen (September 21, 2020). "Boston Ballet adds seven new dancers". The Boston Globe.
  • 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]