Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Canada’s National Ballet School: Learnings and Experiences to Date (Presentation)
Canada's National Ballet School
In English | Simultaneous interpretation in French
Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is an arts organization fueled by a passion for dance and is committed to excellence, access and inclusion. As a leading Canadian dance organization, NBS understands its multifaceted roles and responsibilities and is working to contribute to a more equitable, diverse and inclusive dance system. Achieving greater equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is layered work and includes an iterative and reflexive process that must consider dance students’ identity and experiences, organizational systems, policies and practices, pedagogical evolution, dance industry influence, national representation and international leadership. While acknowledging and working on all fronts, NBS understands that there must be a focus inward as a starting place for authentic change. Having a School and organization that is equitable, diverse and inclusive is not only a moral imperative but vital to ballet’s future. When an art form fails to respect the dignity of others, it fails as an art form. Ballet wields significant cultural capital and needs to be more inclusive in all aspects – from auditioning, to training, to the stage and beyond. Without adaptation and evolution, we will not heal or progress as an art form and as a society. This presentation will provide an outline of NBS’ journey toward EDI to date, the strengths and limitations of these efforts, and what NBS has learned that may be relevant for other cultural organizations also committed to this work.
John Dalrymple is the Executive Director at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS). John joined NBS in 2010, holding increasingly senior positions, including Associate Director of Annual Giving and Director of Strategic Initiatives. In his most recent role as Chief of External Affairs, John has been a driving force behind NBS’ strategic plan, playing an instrumental leadership role in the development and funding of key programs that make dance more accessible to all Canadians, including the now-national community engagement programs for kids as well as programs for seniors.
Prior to his time at NBS, John was on the management team of the Textile Museum of Canada as Director of Development, and as Acting Executive Director. Additionally, John enjoyed a teaching appointment at Centennial College in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture. John currently volunteers on the Board of Adelheid Dance Projects. He holds degrees from York University and the University of Toronto.
Natasha Findlay (She/her)
Natasha Findlay has worked in HR for over 4 years, spending most of her recent career focusing on advancing equity in the art of ballet. Natasha is the EDI Lead at Canada’s National Ballet School, working to empower individuals to increase awareness and deepen their understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), by taking a strategic approach to organizational design and culture fueled by equity-informed practice.