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

February 14, 2018

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.