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June 2021 Update: Anti-Racism and Equity Report

BalletMet’s Commitment to Anti-Racism and Equity-2020-2021 Year Report

The 2020-2021 BalletMet Season was an unprecedented and challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the incendiary incidents around Mr. George Floyd’s death that ignited greater awareness of Racism and its impact on our country and human beings.

BalletMet realized that a long-term, continuous effort was required to address systemic Racism within our organization and the need to reevaluate our whole organization to develop Anti-Racism and Equity practices, viewpoints and behaviors from an internal stance.

We collectively identified the purpose of this initiative, who it impacts, and why it matters. These are inclusive of but not limited to:

  • Represent our community through the art form of dance to elevate the human experience.
  • Establish a Coalition consisting of community leaders, company dancers, staff, and organizational leadership to review and advise BalletMet on its initiatives addressing Anti-Racism and Equity.
  • Evaluate all aspects of our organizational structure including governance, policies, programming, marketing and communications, education, and staff training to identify knowing or unknowing behaviors and biases that contribute to systemic racism practices.
  • Develop, support, and implement ongoing Anti-Racism and Equity training and dialogue for the organization and its people.
  • Continual organizational review of artistic programming, company collaborations, and educational programming, to ensure alignment with the Anti-Racism and Equity initiative.

The following work was accomplished or is currently in process:

  • Designated a Senior Level position on our staff to prioritize and uphold ongoing institutional change.
  • Created an Anti-Racism and Equity Statement for the organization. This statement was shared with the Board and employees of BalletMet.
  • Developed a webpage about our Anti-Racism and Equity work that included the Statement, Anti-Racism and Equity resources and a blog.
  • Examined social media posts for equal representation of BIPOC dancers and are developing a system around BalletMet’s public recognition of social justice issues.
  • Provided Board and employee training around the history of Racism in the United States delivered by Dr. Hasan Jeffries.
  • Formed a Coalition of diverse community members, staff, executive and artistic leadership and representation form the Academy and Dancers to provide recommendations and set goals around the work of Anti-Racism and Equity. The Coalition’s work is facilitated by the Director of Education, Equity and Community Engagement and Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown.
  • Established BIPOC and White Learning Groups that gather monthly to work with facilitator Alesondra Christmas on relevant topics for each group’s needs.
  • Participated in the Artistic Directors Collective which was formed to focus on Racism in ballet.
  • Participated in International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) open house program via Zoom.
  • Complied an on-going resource guides for general Anti-Racism and Equity study, pedagogy and teaching.
  • Began the revision of educational materials from the Education and Community Engagement department, the Academy Handbook and Summer Intensive information.

BalletMet continues to move the work of dis-mantling Racism and Inequity forward with plans for continued training, dialogue, policy and practice changes for the good of the organization and our community as we “continue to learn and grow to forge a brighter path ahead, together.”