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Black British Ballet
Home page of the new black british ballet website featuring an illustration of a black female dancer.

Black British Ballet website launches!

We are proud to announce the launch our all new Black British Ballet website, complete with the stories of the dance pioneers who blazed a trail through ballet in the last century.

When we began this project in 2021 to bring Dr Sandie Bourne’s research to a wider audience, we had no idea of how far we would come and how much we would achieve. From our original idea of an website and feature length film to celebrate and document the lives of black dancers in British ballet, we have:

  • Developed an event series at universities and dance organisations around the country featuring workshops, lectures and panel events with dancers from the project

  • Written a children’s book, Onisere and the Ballet Queen for young children, with dance workshops aimed at schools and families at libraries nationwide

  • Created a Windrush themed ballet show, Island Movements, that debuted on Windrush Day in Brixton, led by Dr Patrick Williams and Darren Panton. The show featured in the Royal Opera House’s Live at Lunch series, while also bringing ballet to communities who do not normally get to see this art form around the country in October, with more dates planned for 2024

  • Secured funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England and the Black Funding Network

  • Worked with an amazing range of partners that include, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet, Central School of Ballet, Phoenix Dance Company, Liverpool Hope University, Libraries Connected and Kinetika Bloco.

But we’re not stopping there; our plans for the future are no less ambitious. We will:

  • Release the feature length documentary focused on the dancer’s experiences and bringing their stories to an entirely new audience

  • Create the Island Movements performance film to share the show with even more audiences around the country

  • Produce a year long touring exhibition of images and stories in partnership with Libraries Connected

  • Deliver an international online event in partnership with Royal Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem

  • Develop a mentoring programme for young black dancers to encourage them to remain in ballet

  • Co-create with our partners, an action plan to help improve the support and experiences of black dancers at every level of the industry.

We could not have achieved or imagined any of this without the incredible support of our dancers, partners and funders. They have helped us to realise the potential of this project to help create the change that will improve the experiences and opportunities for a whole new generation of black British ballet dancers. But the heart of this project has always been to bring these dance pioneers’ achievements to a wider audience and so I am delighted to see the website finally come to life which allows them to tell their stories in their own words.
- Dr. Sandie Bourne