Boston Ballet in Jorma Elo's "Bach Cello Suites" for BB@home. Photo by Sabi Varga, courtesy of Boston Ballet.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Boston Ballet's All-Female Choreographed Program

This year, Boston Ballet's annual choreographic workshop is all about empowering women. Taking place in Boston Ballet's black box theater November 1-2, BB@home: ChoreograpHER will feature six works by women of various ranks in the company.

"Given the reality that the majority of produced choreographers have been male, I am excited this BB@home program encourages our talented female dancers who have an interest in choreography by giving them a platform to gain experience as choreographers," said artistic director Mikko Nissinen in a statement.


Boston Ballet, of course, isn't the only company dedicated to creating more opportunities for women right now. After the #MeToo movement first hit the ballet world last year with claims of abuse and harassment against New York City Ballet's former ballet master in chief, Peter Martins, we've seen an increase in efforts to empower female dancers and choreographers from companies across the country. This fall, American Ballet Theater launched its Women's Movement initiative, and, last month, Pacific Northwest Ballet created a year-round women's choreography class, New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance.

Ahead of the BB@home: ChoreograpHER's sold-out performance, principal Lia Cirio, second soloist (and our October/November cover star) Hannah Bettes, and artists Jessica Burrows, Lauren Flower, Sage Humphries and Haley Schwan let the cameras into their rehearsals for a more in-depth look at their creative processes.

Principal Lia Cirio

In keeping with the all-women theme, Cirio (who will be making her choreographic debut), decided to use music composed by women from the band Carolina Chocolate Drops and singer-songwriter Agnes Obel.

Second Soloist Hannah Bettes

Bettes is also making her choreographic debut at BB@home, sharing that her process has been about focusing on collaborating with her dancers to create In Search of Lost Time, which is inspired by a novel by Marcel Proust of the same name.

Company Artist Jessica Burrows

Having choreographed for a workshop with Hong Kong Ballet in the past, Burrows' first piece with Boston Ballet is all about celebrating each dancer's' unique qualities of movement and individual personality.

Company Artist Lauren Flower

Flower has drawn inspiration from her personal life for her first piece with Boston Ballet, sharing that it will include various solos, pas de deuxs and ensemble moments.

Company Artist Sage Humphries

Humphries' piece, YOU, is not only significant because it marks her first major choreographic debut, but she's also set her piece to music written and composed by her brother, Michael Humphries.

Company Artist Haley Schwan

Though Schwan has choreographed in the commercial world, most notably at the 2015 MTV VMAs for Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora's performance of "Black Widow," this marks her first time choreographing for Boston Ballet.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Coppélia" (1976)

Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov share the unique experience of having danced at both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet during their careers. The two overlapped at ABT in the mid-'70s, where they developed one of the best-known partnerships in ballet. They were both celebrated for their dynamism onstage; however, in this 1976 clip of the pas de deux from Coppélia, Kirkland and Baryshnikov prove they are also masters of control.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks