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.

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And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

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