John Dalrymple

Executive Director

John Dalrymple has been a driving strategic force behind a significant period of growth and change in NBS’ history. Over 13+ years, his increasingly senior leadership at the School has mobilized diverse teams and partners to find innovative ways of demonstrating the importance of dance for people of all ages, abilities and aspirations. 


Initially trained as an archaeologist, John excelled in arts and cultural administration from early in his career, assuming roles as Director of Development and Acting Executive Director at the Textile Museum of Canada, and as a professor at Centennial College in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture. Adept at strategic philanthropy, John joined NBS’ Development office in 2010, spending the majority of his first three years at the School as the Associate Director of Annual Giving. 


From 2013-2019, John assumed newly-created leadership roles, with a focus on empowering an ambitious and creative team to build an unprecedented national presence for the School’s Community Dance programs, which have directly engaged nearly 1-million Canadians since their inception. During his tenure as Director of Strategic Initiatives, he introduced an entrepreneurial-startup model that grew the scope, capacity and impact of these initiatives in a way that attracted historic levels of engagement and financial support. Later, as Chief of External Affairs, he fostered an interdisciplinary approach to enable the School to deliver on increasingly ambitious and sophisticated strategic plans, through an integrated fundraising, brand engagement and government relations team, supporting every programming area of NBS. 


In 2019, John was appointed Executive Director of NBS, of Canada’s National Ballet School Foundation, and of the US Friends of Canada’s National Ballet School. In these roles, he works in close partnership with Artistic Director & CEO, Mavis Staines, to empower the School’s talented staff group to translate bold visions and strategy into action and impact. Foundational to this work is his belief that ballet needs to reflect the full spectrum of diversity in society through representation and storytelling. He is committed to centering equity, diversity and inclusion as NBS’ core imperative. 


Raised in Toronto, John holds degrees in Anthropology from York University and Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. He currently volunteers on the Boards of Adelheid Dance Projects – a successful contemporary dance company, and PACE Universal – a US-based charity that raises funds to support an extraordinary learning centre for girls and women in rural West Bengal, India.