Boston Ballet

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. 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 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 designed by architect Graham Gund.


Company dancers of the Boston Ballet for the 2017-2018 season are:[2]

Principal dancers


Second soloists

Corps de ballet

Boston Ballet II

The dancers of Boston Ballet II for the 2017-2018 season are:[5]

Boston Ballet School

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

Friends of Boston Ballet

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.


  1. NY Times obituary of Virginia Williams by Jennifer Dunning, May 9, 1984]
  2. "Company Dancers: The Company". Boston Ballet. Archived from the original on October 9, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  3. "Cupcakes & Conversation with Lia Cirio, Soloist, Boston Ballet". Ballet News. May 11, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  4. "Cupcakes & Conversation with John Lam, Soloist, Boston Ballet". Ballet News. January 14, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  5. "Company Dancers: Boston Ballet II". Boston Ballet. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  • 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.
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