In line with the company’s vision and strategic plan, Ballet BC is deeply committed to combating the systemic racism that exists within our society, and to being an organization that welcomes, amplifies, and celebrates all voices.
Our company is dedicated to ensuring vital conversations surrounding equity and representation are actively occurring and that Ballet BC continues to pursue, embrace, and enact change within our company, industry, and society as a whole.
Through our Dancers of Today Scholarship program, our Artists in Residence initiative in partnership with Indigenous choreographers, movement workshops with at-risk youth and alternative schools, and Arts for All and Community Comp ticket programs, the company is continuing to develop meaningful ways to foster an inclusive community around its work, and provide access to arts experiences and education.
Ballet BC has multiple channels for the leadership team and our employees to address human resource policies around fostering a sense of belonging, cultural safety, and creating a healthy, equitable and respectful workplace.
At the artistic and administrative level, the Ballet BC EDI Committee is an open forum for dancers and staff to discuss issues, ideas, and ongoing engagement initiatives surrounding EDI. Now in its third season, the volunteer committee has partnered with Alden Habacon and Vancouver’s Inclusive Excellence Strategy Solutions to develop a holistic EDI strategy that will allow us to form a more cohesive and inclusive workplace. The strategy will include company-wide workshops centred on topics such as shaping the workplace culture of Ballet BC’s new facility; addressing inappropriate behaviour; and reclaiming Black dance.
At the board level, the People and Culture Committee oversees the development and governance of Ballet BC’s people strategy, including policies and procedures, EDI practices, and cultural initiatives. The committee, which consists of four board members as well as the Managing and Artistic Directors, provides a mechanism for senior leadership to get expert advice on workplace issues, and empowers them to respond to issues in a timely and culturally sensitive manner.
Ballet BC’s outreach and engagement work aims to increase access to exceptional contemporary dance, empower embodied creativity in individuals and groups of all ages and abilities, support wellness through movement and self-expression, and cultivate a creative and dynamic dialogue between the company’s artistic work and the communities we engage with.
Through partnerships with the Vancouver School and Park Boards, Roundhouse Community Centre, TREES alternative school, Union Gospel Mission, Big Sisters, and more, the company strives to make Ballet BC and its programming a space of belonging for all, and invites everyone to discover their own unique relationship to the universal language of dance.
Striving toward a more equitable and diverse future in dance, Ballet BC’s Dancers of Today Scholarship aims to provide greater access to dance education, with the ultimate goal of creating a path accessible to all communities to feed into our professional company. The inaugural scholarship, generously supported by the Y.P. Heung Foundation and an anonymous donor, was awarded in the 2022/23 season to Nathan Bear, an Indigenous Arts Umbrella Dance student currently in their third year. In the 2023/24 season, Nathan will also participate in the Ballet BC Annex project, touring schools across the province with professional repertoire and workshops.
In an ongoing effort to reduce barriers to accessing the arts and make the theatre experience a safe and welcoming one, Ballet BC is committed to several audience-focused initiatives and partnerships. The company’s Arts for All Seating, generously supported by Simons, enables us to offer $19 seats in the QET balcony at Friday and Saturday performances throughout the season. Our Community Comps program identifies and engages local organizations doing great work with underrepresented communities in the Vancouver area, inviting them to share a performance experience with us—on us. We are proud to partner with Canoo, an Institute for Canadian Citizenship program which offers Canadian newcomers the opportunity to access the best cultural experience the country has to offer at low or no cost.
“Ballet BC continues to innovate while combining an awareness of current social injustices and realities.”
– LA Dance Chronicle