NYCB's Olivia Boisson on What It's Really Like Being a Ballet Dancer of Color

Though ballet has come a long way from its early days, New York City Ballet corps member, Olivia Boisson—one of the handful of black dancers in the industry—says there's still plenty more that can be done to promote diversity within the art form. Boisson got real about her experience in an article for Women's Health, which discusses everything from Boisson's early training to her work with NYCB.


When Boisson first started studying ballet at Dance Theatre of Harlem, she was surrounded by other black ballet dancers. But when she enrolled at the School of American Ballet—the feeder school for NYCB—she was the only dancer of color in her classes. Boisson praises the contributions of the black dancers who went before her, like dance legend Arthur Miller, but also admits that as a student, she was hungry for a role model. That's why setting an example for today's young black ballet students is so important to Boisson. She's even begun wearing her hair natural for performances, so that other aspiring ballet dancers of color can see themselves in her.

Read the whole article here. And to learn about other black ballerinas who are working on transforming the ballet industry, check out our March Cover story.

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2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

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