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For Theresa Ruth Howard:

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For Sanctuary of the Arts:

Roberto Santiago / 


Conference Centers Blackness in Ballet and Drafts a New Blueprint for the Art Form

Registration for August Event Now Open

March 15, 2022 – “MoBBallet is drafting a new blueprint for ballet by addressing its existing issues 360°,” said Theresa Ruth Howard, former ballerina, diversity strategist, and founder of the digital legacy project Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet ( This mission will come to life at the MoBBallet Symposium/MIA – Motivation. Innovation. Activation. scheduled for August 7 – 13, 2022 at Sanctuary of the Arts in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The Symposium is focused on supporting and advocating for Black ballet dancers and choreographers, examining dance education practices, and creating meaningful conversations with dance academics, along with engaging ballet leadership to address the racial and cultural issues in ballet. 

“We are using Africanist principles by building a village of support, education and solidarity,” explained Howard. “We focus on providing elite training because the art is important, but we also engage entrepreneurs–Black dance studios are wellsprings of talent, but they are businesses that must thrive if the pre-professional pipeline wishes to look differently. “We are also providing support to our up-and-coming choreographers and providing a platform for our scholars who will help to rewrite/restore the narrative. We are inviting arts leaders of our host city to get into the mix. Many hands make light work!” 

The MoBBallet/MIA programming will provide elite training and professional development for advanced and intermediate dancers who are Black identifying, with one-on-one mentorship as well as coaching for advanced dancers from ballet professionals who look like them. But the goal at MoBBallet Symposium/MIA is not conventional success as defined by a contract with a leading company. Instead, Howard carefully pairs dancers and mentors to create meaningful relationships that last well beyond the week-long conference, with the intention of matching an aspiring artist with someone who helps them feel seen, nurtured, and supported in their artistic journey. 

Dance faculty* to date includes: Debra Austin (Carolina Ballet), Andrea Long Naidu (Boston Ballet School), Jason Ambrose (San Francisco Ballet School), Kareen Pauld Camargo (Miami City Ballet), Monica Stephenson (Miami City Ballet), Erica Edwards (Former Joffrey Ballet dancer and educator, founder-Cultivating Better Tomorrows), Meredith Rainey (Kitchen Table Dance Collective), Chandra Moss-Thorne (Swarthmore College), Christian Von Howard (Montclair State University), Ramon Flowers (formerly with Pennsylvania Ballet, Rambert Ballet, Frankfurt), William Isaac (Kymera Dance Company).

Creating a pipeline for talent that redefines what a ballet dancer looks like and who ballet is for depends on local dance schools thriving as businesses, and creating inclusive spaces that welcome and support a diverse range of students from the earliest ages. The Symposium will provide ballet teachers and private studio owners with the tools and skills to help achieve these goals. The highly skilled professionals Howard has selected to work with educators, and reimagine the ballet curriculum include Ayisha McMillan Cravotta (Charlotte Ballet Academy Director), Monica Stephenson (Miami City Ballet), Marion Tonner (former Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre School), Andrea Yannone (former Director of Education and Training at San Francisco Ballet), Margaret Tracey (former Director of the Boston Ballet School).

The Symposium is an extension of Howard’s development of Cultural Competence and Equity Coalition (C2EC), a learning community of ballet organizations. C2EC members are invited to attend the Symposium to further explore how ballet companies and leadership can change the culture of ballet. 

In addition, the MoBBallet Symposium is hosting a scholar track and has issued a call for papers on subjects that align with MoBBallet’s core values and mission. MoBBallet is currently accepting proposals for papers, workshops, and digital presentations from scholars on a variety of topics including anti-racist and inclusive pedagogy, decolonizing ballet/curriculum, Black dance archives and history, and aesthetics in ballet training. Because aspects of the conference will be hybrid in nature, a limited number of presentations will be virtual. The deadline for proposals is Monday, May 1, 2022. For a full list of topics and further details on submitting papers, visit the submission website.

The MoBBallet Symposium/MIA is also deeply rooted in this year’s location, and committed to engaging with and celebrating the vibrant Afro-Caribbean, and specifically Bahamian and Hatian communities in Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County where Sanctuary of the Arts is located. Howard and Rafi Maldonado-Lopez, Principal Managing Director of Sanctuary of the Arts, are curating panels with arts leaders from Miami City Ballet, Design Miami and multiple museums to speak about how they can support and encourage the intersectionality of the city of Miami. 

Understanding the importance of MoBBallet’s work in the field as well as within its community, Miami City Ballet has pledged $15,000 in support. Additionally, Arts, Equity, & Education Fund, a longtime supporter of MoBBallet, is underwriting the choreographers’ program which was designed to address the lack Black choreographers. 

For more details on the symposium, please visit the MoBBallet landing page, or follow #MoBBalletMIA.

About Theresa Ruth Howard and MoBBallet

Journalist, diversity strategist and former ballerina Theresa Ruth Howard is the founder of Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet), a non-profit organization that preserves, presents and promotes the contributions of Blacks in ballet. The digital platform includes an archive of historical information, digital installations, and more. Howard is a leader in the advocacy for diversity in ballet and regularly consults with ballet leadership internationally. She has collaborated with organizations such as Dance/USA, Dutch National Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and International Association of Blacks in Dance to create safe spaces where organizations and their leadership can engage in authentic dialogue, receive education, and strategize ways to create sustainable change.

About Sanctuary of the Arts

Sanctuary of the Arts is an innovative artist-led institution that incorporates best practices from artistic, educational, community, corporate and foundation engagement strategies. The goal is to produce not only high-quality performances and events, but also those that are appealing in concept and content to a wide audience base, leading to more personal engagement and assisting in the development of sustainable arts careers.

* all faculty subject to change



New York Times profile: ​​She’s Been a Force for Change in Ballet. The World Is Catching Up.


Catch Howard in conversation with Judith Jamison, Virginia Johnson, and Sheinelle Jones at the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Women’s E3 Virtual Summit on March 24, 2022

MoBBallet Symposium /MIA Motivation. Innovation. Activation.


Fourth Annual Symposium Centering the Needs and Experiences of Black Ballet Dancers Will Expand to Include Choreographer Track, and Offerings for Local Miami Community


February 15, 2022 – Theresa Ruth Howard, diversity strategist and founder of, announced today initial details for the fourth MoBBallet Symposium, which centers Blackness in ballet but welcomes all. This year’s symposium is planned to be held in person at the Sanctuary of the Arts, located in Coral Gables, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Select sessions will also be offered virtually.

RELEASE: MoBBallet Symposium /MIA




New Cultural Competency and Equity Coalition (C2EC) Offers Innovative Program for Arts Organizations

Committed to Transformative and Ongoing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Work

January 6, 2022 – While many arts organizations are pledging ongoing anti-racism work, and committing to more inclusive and diverse workplaces, few are moving forward with the guidance and collaborative professional community to foster ongoing learning and meaningful change. Launching January 16, 2022, the Cultural Competency and Equity Coalition (C2EC) program, created by diversity strategist and former ballet dancer Theresa Ruth Howard, aims to create a learning community with the support, education, and advocacy that organizations and their leaders need to reimagine and reshape the culture and standards of the classical arts. 

New Cultural Competency and Equity Coalition (C2EC) Offers Innovative Program for Arts Organizations Committed to Transformative and Ongoing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Work




February 2, 2022 – Starting February 5th Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet.orgwill launch four new orbits to its popular The Constellation Project: Mapping the Dark Stars of BalletRaven Wilkinson, the First Negro Classic Ballet CompanyAmerican Ballet Theatre’s Negro Unit and Agne de Mille’s The Four Marys, and Janet Collins.


Pointe Magazine

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet’s “Constellation Project” Maps the Complex Histories of 6 Dance Pioneers

Broadway World

MoBBallet Honors Black History Month With New Digital Installation
Press release pick-up
Broadway World
Key Caption:
Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet’s (MoBBallet) newest digital exhibit “The Constellation Project: Mapping the Dark Stars of Ballet” brings into view the lives, relationships and artistic collaborations of key Black ballet dancers to show their influence in the development of major Black dance organizations and American ballet as a whole. The exhibit uses art and graphic design to create a digital galaxy that is both visually compelling and educational. The exhibit is live on the company’s site and advances the company’s commitment to ensure that the names and stories of Black ballet dancers are included in the history of dance.
In addition to building a growing digital archive of photos, videos and stories of Black ballet dancers, MoBBallet hosts live gatherings to foster deeper connections and understanding within the dance community at large. On February 20, 12:00-2:00 EST they will host “Check-in and Checkup,” for members of “The Village” to share their activism work and give and receive support in the community. Attendance is FREE but registration is required at this link.
Metro Co Uk
Stunning exhibition celebrates the forgotten contributions of Black ballet dancers
Key Caption:
A new online exhibition aims to highlight the impact of Black ballet dancers throughout the history of the classic discipline. Launched by Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet [MoBBallet],
‘The Constellation Project: Mapping the Dark Stars of Ballet’, will feature the work and influence of Black dancers who have traditionally been excluded from the history books. Since MoBBallet launched in 2015 as a digital archive preserving the history of Black people in ballet, it has been documenting oral histories, archiving historical photos, and serving as a resource for anyone interested in the professional field of ballet. Founder Theresa Ruth Howard says the platform was founded as a way to lift up the long legacy of Black people in ballet globally.
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February 13, 2020

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February 27th, 2017

Theresa Ruth Howard launches online MoBBallet project
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February 26th, 2017

Dancer and Educator Theresa Ruth Howard Launches MOBBALLET: A Digital Archive Preserving the Legacy of Black Ballet
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February 21, 2017

MoBBallet Is Highlighting The History Of Black Ballet Dancers
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March 7th, 2017

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Apr 25, 2017
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May 5th, 2017

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May 3rd, 2017

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August 9th, 2017

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Turn Out, opening up the dance scene in Toronto, New York, and London on CIUT 89.5 Hosted by producers Nicole Hamilton and Malgorzata Nowacka.
Aug 9th 2017

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October 20, 2017

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October 19th, 2017
Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet), a groundbreaking legacy project documenting and transforming conversations around black ballet artists, heralds the completion of its inaugural video installation “And Still They Rose: The Legacy of Black Philadelphians in Ballet.” Highlighting Joan Myers Brown, Delores Brown and Judith Jamison, three Black Philadelphian dancers who were classically trained, the video installation will be released on MoBBallet’s website October 22, 2017.

Dance News: Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet) To Release “And Still They Rose: The Legacy of Black Philadelphians in Ballet” This SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22


The Dance Enthusiast Asks: MoBBallet Founder Theresa Ruth Howard on the History of Black Ballet Dancers

Dance Enthusiast

February 28, 2017

Where Are All the Ballet Dancers of Color?

Victoria Dembroski
November 17th, 2017
Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet), founded by ballerina Theresa Ruth Howard, is a nonprofit organization that “preserves the contributions and stories of black artists in the field of ballet” through oral histories. With panels, workshops, and authentic dialogues, this network aims to support future generations as well as provide inspiring and accessible content.
African American Ballet Artists Discuss The Legacy Of Black Philadelphians In Ballet
University City Review
Tim Legnani
November 1st, 2017

The organization, Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet), hosted a viewing and discussion panel at The Painted Bride Arts Center in Old City on Saturday, Oct. 28, on the subject of MoBBallet’s most recent video series, “And Still They Rose: The Legacy of Black Philadelphians in Ballet.”