Misson & History

Mission

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.

History

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.