Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Atlanta Ballet recognizes that there have been historical inequities in the field of ballet and we are fully committed to bringing about authentic change to our organization and the institution of our art form. While Atlanta Ballet is proud to provide the Atlanta community with a globally and ethnically diverse group of professional dancers, we acknowledge that on stage we do not reflect the racial diversity of the city we represent. As the state ballet of Georgia and the largest professional ballet company in Atlanta, we understand the importance of better reflecting the demographics of our city and providing our young audiences with opportunities to see people who look like them on stage and behind the scenes.

To that end, Atlanta Ballet has been working systematically and with resolve to address these issues and others that are central to diversity and inclusion.

In June of 2018, Atlanta Ballet commissioned an independent assessment to rate our internal diversity policies and practices and joined the national Equity Project, a partnership among 21 major dance companies in the U.S. and Canada to support the advancement of Black people in all areas of the ballet industry.

In October, 2018, Atlanta Ballet formed a Transformation Team — an internal committee made up of representatives from all sectors of the organization, including Board, staff and dancers — with a mandate to make sweeping advancements in diversity and inclusion at Atlanta Ballet by recommending a series of initiatives and overseeing their implementation. Based on guidance from the Equity Project as well as internal assessments, the Team recommended, in the summer of 2019, a wide range of objectives for diversity and inclusion. Those objectives were incorporated into Atlanta Ballet’s Strategic Plan, which was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees in October, 2019. Many of the objectives identified in the Plan, including providing diversity and inclusion training, instituting more diverse hiring practices, and hiring more creative artists of color, are already being met.

 Other significant initiatives currently in progress are as follows:

The Equity Project:

  • Atlanta Ballet is a participant in The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet company.
  • Administered by Dance Theatre of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), and Dance/USA, with funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Equity Project brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 large budget, professional ballet organizations for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing the presence of blacks in ballet in all areas of the industry.

Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education’s Academy:

  • Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education has recently restructured its pre-professional training program as a way to bridge the gap between education and opportunities for employment as a professional dancer. A primary focus of the Academy is to provide and proactively recruit qualified students of all backgrounds.
  • Those dancers who have the talent, mindset and commitment required to become a professional dancer will receive invitations to the training program, starting with Academy and continuing beyond the levels.
  • The Centre for Dance Education will provide merit scholarships, financial aid, as well as developmental and social support for these dancers, as appropriate.
  • The Centre for Dance Education will train these select young dancers with the ultimate goal of nurturing dancers for the professional Company at Atlanta Ballet and the worldwide stage.
  • By heightening the quality of training and offering a balanced repertoire featuring classical, neoclassical and contemporary dance styles, Atlanta Ballet’s profile will continue to elevate, making it even more attractive to a diverse corps of dancers.

Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education’s “Decade 2 Dance” Initiative:

  • Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education has placed a primary focus on spearheading a groundbreaking initiative designed to serve and support the next generation of young dancers of color.
  • On average, it takes 10 years for a ballet student to become a classically trained, professional dancer. With those statistics in mind, this new initiative will offer dancers as young as seven years old the training, mentoring and academic support required to sustain a professional dancer’s decade-long journey to success.

Expanding Auditioning and Recruitment Events

  • In a concerted effort to discover talented and more diverse dancers, Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education are hosting and attending top competitions and auditions for the professional and training companies on a local, national and international level.
  • Atlanta Ballet will continue to attend the International Association of Blacks in Dance (or similar) audition every year.

Diverse Artistic Programming

  • Atlanta Ballet aims to pursue artistic programming that resonates with the diverse communities of Atlanta by commissioning choreographers, designers and artists who represent different backgrounds and dances styles.
  • Atlanta Ballet also has a goal to regularly collaborate with other Atlanta-based artists and organizations, bringing other talents, voices and perspectives to the stage.

Internal Diversity Training and D&I Certification

  • Atlanta Ballet staff, artists and Board of Trustees are required to participate in diversity training led by certified professionals. This mandatory course will be repeated every two years.
  • The sessions designed to open the door to dialogue and drive transformational performance and growth in your organization.  Each segment is interactive, engaging, relevant, high-energy, multi-medium and realistic-skill focused.
  • Participants will leave each session with tools and techniques that are relevant and immediately useable. The intention is to hold a session that provides education, skills, knowledge and tools mixed with appropriate humor in a respectful and safe way.
  • Two representatives of the Atlanta Ballet will receive Diversity & Inclusivity certification to facilitate ongoing initiatives and onboarding of new employees.

Peer Mentorship Program

  • Atlanta Ballet will welcome each new employee with a peer mentor to support their onboarding experience, foster open communication, and facilitate training and access to organizational resources.

Organization-wide Town Hall Meetings

  • Atlanta Ballet will quarterly “Town Hall” meetings to include full staff, full- and part-time faculty, and artists. The purpose of these gatherings is to keep everyone in the organization informed about current activities, future plans and strategies, and to give every member of the internal Atlanta Ballet family the opportunity to make comments, ask questions and share perspective.
  • Anonymous post-meeting surveys will be distributed after each Town Hall to gauge response and provide attendees who prefer to share comments and ask questions privately.

Employee Hiring & Board Recruiting Practices

  • All open positions will be posted to encourage a diverse applicant pool. Practicing inclusive recruitment will help the Atlanta Ballet team grow efficiently, create happier employees, build stronger and more effective teams, and forge a more innovative environment.
  • Atlanta Ballet will continue to build a diverse Board of Trustees and advisory council that is reflective of the Atlanta community.

While Atlanta Ballet is proud of the progress it has made to date, there is clearly much more work to be done. The essence of our art form is rooted in human connection, synergy and togetherness, and in every single Atlanta Ballet class, rehearsal, performance, meeting or event, we are able to witness the magic that occurs when a group of individuals with different backgrounds, complexions and mindsets come together to create art. In order to see this kind of magic reach its full potential throughout the organization, Atlanta Ballet understands the need to continue working hard, and in some areas redoubling our efforts, in order to achieve the following ultimate goals:

  • For the composition of Atlanta Ballet to more fully reflect the diversity of our community
  • For our performances to attract and resonate with Atlanta’s diverse communities
  • For everyone who works at Atlanta Ballet to feel valued for their contributions and competencies; and
  • For everyone in the Atlanta Ballet community, including students and their families at the Centre for Dance Education, to have a sense of belonging, regardless of race, color, gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, religion, or sexual orientation

Atlanta Ballet Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required

I am interested in