Diversity and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Centering Equity Across the Organization

We envision ballet as a vibrant and thriving art form that embraces and reflects the full diversity of Canada and its peoples.

Access and inclusion have been central to our mission of empowering all Canadians to embrace the transformative power of dance. Our work in this area has been underway for many years, focusing on building program delivery and participation that reflect Canada’s evolving demographics.
However, events in 2020—including the murder of George Floyd, the subsequent amplification and mobilization of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the concerns and advocacy voiced by members of the NBS community—underscored our responsibility to take action and go further by ensuring that equity and inclusion drive every one of our organizational practices, policies and programs.
We felt an immense sense of urgency to dig deeper and confront the systems that create inequities within our organization and work toward advancing equity at NBS but also in the wider dance sector. It became clear that we must set a higher standard for our strategic goals and the actions we take to reach them.
In the ensuing months and years, both here at NBS and through our privileged place at the table of the global ballet community, we have made stronger commitments and outlined clearer paths for systemic change.
We envision ballet as a vibrant and thriving art form that embraces and reflects the full diversity of Canada and its peoples. Systemic change is a marathon, not a sprint. And while ballet and the world have a long way to go, we are confident that NBS’ work, planning and actions now are leading us to a time when our students, staff and all program participants will be reflective of the full diversity of this country.

Going Deeper

At the core of our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), we acknowledge and are deepening our understanding of the historical and contemporary failings of our beloved ballet art form and how these have led to persistent systemic inequities.
As a leading national arts organization, we hold responsibility for confronting these inequities alongside reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, addressing anti-Black racism and systemic oppression that creates and sustains privileges for some while disadvantaging others— within our organization, in ballet and beyond.
Central to this mission is a commitment to equity-informed practices; driving systemic, progressive change by evolving dance training and education.

Becoming Equity-Informed – Work Gets Underway

Our organizational change process began in Spring 2021 with a multi-year partnership with the KOJO Institute, leaders in equity consulting. KOJO engaged NBS in a comprehensive assessment of our policies and best practices, engaging racialized staff and students in facilitated focus group discussions and providing foundational equity training for all staff.

1. Policy Development

  • Enhance and update harassment and violence policies including processes for reporting and responding to oppression or discrimination; evaluate, update and co-create all other policies
  • Co-create an equity policy
  • Review and co-develop equitable and inclusive academic and artistic content and practices

2. Leadership practices

  • Build capacity for senior leadership, department heads and faculty
  • Challenge and strengthen organizational culture and practices through authentic partnerships
  • Enhance and embed equity within strategic priorities and decision-making processes
  • Create clear and sustainable communications pathways

3. Data collection

  • Develop an equity-informed framework for data collection, evaluation and analysis
  • Develop tools and evaluations to collect and monitor data related to NBS personnel, programming and policies
  • Establish comparative internal-external data groups

4. Diversification and Recruitment

  • Address the lack of diversity throughout the organization – particularly focusing on the professional ballet program students, artistic and academic faculty and leadership positions
  • Evaluate and update both student auditions and employee recruitment practices
  • Create safeguards for biases in all levels of evaluations for students and staff

Four Key Pillars of our EDI Work

Detailed plans and relationship building work are in development within four key pillars of our EDI Work Plan. Each honours and celebrates the unique, intersectional identities of each of our community members while striving towards a culture of humility, integrity and respect. These pillars include:

Racial Equity

We are actively working to address the lack of representation/diversity in senior positions and among teaching faculty at NBS. We are working on evolving from a White-majority institution to an equity-informed, inclusive organization driving sectoral change.

Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation

As settlers on this land, we acknowledge how broken treaties, oppressive laws and acts of systemic cultural genocide have inflicted multi-generational trauma and harm that continues to affect the lives of Indigenous peoples to this day. As a community, we commit ourselves to ongoing education, dialogue and advocacy by amplifying and supporting Indigenous artists and voices.


We are dedicated to developing accessibility action plans based on identified barriers to access and participation to positively impact dancers and employees’ experiences and ability to meaningfully perform their jobs and participate in NBS programs.

2SLGBTQ+ Inclusivity

We are committed to fostering a welcoming learning and working environment, where all community members feel a sense of belonging and inclusion, by collectively respecting the human rights, dignity, kindness, and care of each person.

Professional Ballet dancers leaping
Indgenous artist dancing
Dancers in community, professional and recreational program in a photo
Pointe shoes representing the LGBT flag