Canada’s National Ballet School Announces Appointment of New Artistic Director

The Board of Directors of Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is excited to announce the appointment of an exceptional leader, Margaret Tracey, as NBS’ new Artistic Director. With a distinguished career spanning four decades, Margaret brings a wealth of experience, a deep commitment to ballet education, and a profound passion for fostering equity, inclusion and innovation within the dance community.


"This opportunity to lead NBS resonates deeply with me, both professionally and personally,” says Margaret. “NBS has long been a model of excellence in dance education, and I feel privileged to join this inspiring organization that is already leading critical change. I believe in the transformative power of dance and am committed to continue the work in creating an authentic culture of belonging where every student can thrive, and every Canadian can access the joy of dance."


In her long-standing role as Director of Boston Ballet School, Margaret elevated its profile through innovative programs and international collaborations, including with NBS. As Dean of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute at the Colburn School, Los Angeles, she continued to shape the next generation of dancers and the future of the art form.


"We are delighted to welcome Margaret Tracey as Artistic Director of Canada’s National Ballet School,” says Andrea Stairs Krishnappa, Chair of NBS’ Board of Directors. “Margaret shares NBS’ vision for the organization: one based on creating broad access to the benefits of dance, prioritizing dancers’ health and wellbeing, and integrating equity-informed practices into the art of ballet. Margaret’s unwavering commitment to these values, along with her tremendous skill and depth of experience, make her a leader able to maintain continuity while building for the future.”  


Mavis Staines, current Artistic Director and CEO, shares the excitement about Margaret’s appointment. “I am thrilled that Margaret is embracing the role of NBS’ Artistic Director. I have known Margaret for many years and have chosen to work closely with her as often as possible because of how her values and priorities align with NBS. In addition to being a strong and compassionate leader, she is a visionary thinker who will guide NBS from strength to strength.”


Within a co-leadership model alongside NBS’ Executive Director, John Dalrymple, Margaret is honoured to serve in strengthening NBS’ commitment to teaching excellence, access and inclusion.


Margaret says, "I am inspired by NBS's holistic approach to training future dancers who are also thoughtful contributing global citizens, and by the organization’s commitment to serving both professional track students and the broader community across Canada. My goal is to continue fostering a culture of care and innovation, and of amplifying the voices of those who are marginalized by ballet’s practices. Together, we will explore new models of dance education and ensure that ballet remains relevant and accessible in the 21st century."


Margaret Tracey will begin in the role of Artistic Director at Canada’s National Ballet School on June 24, 2024.


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Get to know Margaret Tracey


Margaret Tracey (left), pictured with the Assemblée Internationale 2023 Student Think Tank and Mentors


Born in Pueblo, Colorado, Margaret began her ballet journey at the age of six under her mother’s tutelage and trained formally at the School of American Ballet. She joined the New York City Ballet (NYCB) corps de ballet in 1986 and embarked on a celebrated 16-year stage career, earning principal dancer status in 1991. Renowned for her proficiency in the Balanchine and Robbins repertoire, she graced numerous iconic works and originated roles in productions by acclaimed choreographers. Transitioning to a Balanchine Repetiteur post-retirement, she staged several of his works globally and garnered a Jerome Robbins Foundation award for her interpretive prowess. 

Margaret’s commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and access (EDI) in dance education was the driver in her leadership of a committee that created an EDI curriculum for the entire Boston Ballet organization including all staff, senior leadership team and boards. She volunteered on the planning committees for the 2023 edition of NBS’ Assemblée Internationale, and contributes her expertise to the Vail Dance Festival in her native Colorado during summers.


Click to read more about Margaret Tracey


Photo credits: Igor Burlak, Celeste Cole


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