Pacific Northwest Ballet has created a year-long course dedicated curating female choreography from an early stage in a dancer’s career. New Voices, as it is called, is funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation – known to support women in dance – and was first tested as an aspect of PNB’s summer program.
To Pointe Magazine, Artistic Director of PNB Peter Boal had this to say:
“I do post-performance Q&As, and questions I hear so frequently are ‘Why aren’t there more female choreographers?’ or ‘What can we do to ensure there will be more?’ As I think about this issue, I keep going further and further into the pipelines of empowerment, support and opportunity. It was natural for me to think, Oh, I could be a choreographer. And I don’t know if women in classical ballet have felt that.”
Boal even went on to admit that he does not have enough female choreographers featured in his upcoming season. It is essential for leaders to admit those instances in which they could do better and change their programming in the future to reflect their determination to be more equitable.
The New Voices program is a remarkable step in the right direction for this leading company and supports the commitment Boal makes in his discussion with Pointe. As the program unfolds, DDP will follow closely to see the emerging choreographers with a new voice and opportunity. This is just the beginning for creative young women in a leading ballet school.
Read the interview with Boal and report on the initiative in Pointe Magazine.