Mission & History
BalletRox is a 501(c)(3) organization. BalletRox empowers Boston youth through dance, providing a supportive community for life-long success. BalletRox gives more kids a chance to dance.
We strive to improve the well-being of local youth and the greater community through access to dance. Our programs are based on the premise that participation in dance not only provides dance training, but also contributes to social development, encourages healthy lifestyle, and helps develop valuable life skills.
While BalletRox helps students increase technical dance abilities, it is these additional skills which lead to increased confidence levels and self-efficacy that are the most important goals of our programming.
BalletRox was founded in 1992 with the mission to make dance accessible to a diverse population of students, and through dance, to improve the lives and performance of those students. Anthony Williams, BalletRox’s founder, was raised in the Bromley-Heath Housing Project in Jamaica Plain where he struggled to stay out of trouble. He found his refuge in dance, or rather, dance found him. He received a scholarship to Boston Ballet and became the first African-American male dancer in Boston’s premier Ballet Company. He went on to have a successful ballet career with major companies in New York and Canada, returning home to his roots in Boston to fulfill his dreams and to pay forward to a younger generation, the opportunities given to him. Those dreams became the mission which carries BalletRox forward.
BalletRox began offering dance classes in a renovated church in Jamaica Plain. The school expanded, Urban Nutcracker was born, and BalletRox flourished, growing into the premier provider of high quality dance instruction for underserved inner city youth.
Prior to 2012, BalletRox was immersed in its annual production of Anthony Williams’s Urban Nutcracker. Urban Nutcracker is a staging of the holiday classic in a modern urban setting. Juxtaposing Tchaikovsky’s classical score with Duke Ellington’s jazz interpretations and original contemporary music, this innovative Nutcracker features a unique blend of artistic styles, including ballet, hip-hop, urban tap, and Russian character dance.
BalletRox programs currently focus on education through in-school and after-school programs. The organization continues to grow, and is regarded as a treasured community resource, working closely with Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the greater Boston community in an effort to help integrate arts, specifically dance, into our schools and the lives of underserved youth.
Balletrox DEI Statement
BalletRox is committed to cultivating a dance community that upholds the principles of Diversity, Equity,
Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice. We firmly believe that dance should be accessible to all individuals,
regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or socioeconomic
Our mission is to create an environment that recognizes and celebrates the unique perspectives
and experiences of every dancer, staff member, and stakeholder associated with BalletRox.
Diversity is at the heart of our organization. We recognize and value the diverse tapestry of our dance
community. We actively seek to include individuals from all walks of life, encouraging participation from
people with different cultural backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and abilities. By embracing and showcasing the beauty of diversity, we aim to enrich our programs, performances, and partnerships with a multitude of perspectives and experiences.
Equity is a fundamental principle that guides our actions. We are dedicated to providing equal
opportunities for everyone involved in BalletRox. We understand that fairness means removing visible
and invisible barriers that may hinder individuals from fully engaging and progressing in their dance
journeys. Our commitment to equity extends to every aspect of our organization, ensuring everyone has an equal chance to thrive and succeed.
Inclusion lies at the core of our values. We strive to create an inclusive environment where all members of our dance community feel welcomed, respected, and valued. We foster a culture of openness,
acceptance, and mutual understanding where everyone’s unique contributions are recognized and
celebrated. Through our collective efforts, we actively work to dismantle stereotypes, biases, and
discriminatory practices, fostering a sense of belonging for all.
Belonging is vital to us. We recognize that every person has the right to feel a deep sense of belonging
within BalletRox. We are committed to creating safe, supportive, and nurturing spaces where individuals can express themselves freely and authentically. By fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, cooperation, and mutual respect, we empower each member to fully participate and contribute to the vibrancy of our dance community.
Justice is a pillar of our commitment. We acknowledge that systemic injustices exist within the dance
world and society. We actively challenge and address these inequities. Through our advocacy and
engagement, we amplify the voices of marginalized individuals and communities. We seek to initiate
positive change within our dance community and broader society, striving for a more equitable and just
world for all.
We understand that the journey toward Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice is continuous. We are dedicated to ongoing learning, growth, and improvement. We welcome feedback, dialogue, and collaboration from our dancers, staff, community, and stakeholders as we work together to create a more inclusive and just dance community for all.
With unity, understanding, and joy, we can collectively create a vibrant and transformative dance
experience, giving every kid a “chance to dance.”
Dance with us!
Have questions or ready to register for a dance class?