Racial Equity Statement
Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) recognizes ballet’s historical and traditional relationship with Eurocentrism. PNB has been, and continues to be, committed to shifting the culture of our organization in order to create safe spaces for people of color (POC) in all facets of the work we do and throughout the communities we engage.
PNB will utilize a continuous improvement model in combating structural racism by embracing the following commitments:
- Acknowledging that we live, work, and play on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Lummi, Skagit, and Swinomish. This acknowledgement does not take the place of authentic relationships with Indigenous communities, but serves as a first step in honoring the land we are on.
- In alliance with the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, we are leading with race in order to address the historical and structural oppression faced by people of color in the arts; this model will allow us to develop the tools needed to begin dismantling structural oppression as it is experienced across the matrix of identities** represented in our community.
- Centering underrepresented perspectives across the organization through community collaboration and professional consultation.
- Cultivating authentic relationships and engagement with under-invited communities both throughout the organization, and in our work outside the organization.
- Utilizing the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to integrate equity work throughout all facets of the organization.
- Reassessing our hiring practices and internal policies using a racial equity lens with the ultimate goal of including POC across all departments and leadership levels, including the Board of Trustees.
- Ensuring our artistic output is reflective of our community and our goals surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Continuing to invite, acknowledge, and accept stakeholder* feedback regarding our racial equity initiatives.
- Educating ourselves and our community partners about structural racism and inequity via dedicated and accessible trainings, workshops, and programming, as well as empowering our artists, employees, and Board of Trustees to continue their education and engagement outside of the workplace.
- Ensuring collaborators, partners, independent contractors, and financial investment practices align with PNB’s core principles around equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Holding ourselves, our community partners, and our national peers accountable for this work by establishing and maintaining public transparency, including but not limited to adding racial equity updates to our website and annual report.
*Stakeholders: PNB employees, dancers, volunteers, board, students and families, audience, and community partners
**Matrix of identities (including but not limited to): race, national origin, citizenship status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, socioeconomic status, etc.
Since 2015, PNB has:
- Joined the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Racial Equity Learning Cohorts, which was part of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), Seattle’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle (Turning Commitment Into Action).
- Joined The Equity Project, led by Dance/USA, Dance Theater of Harlem, and The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD).
- Created an Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) Committee, comprised of PNB employees, artists, and board members. The EDI Committee is the body that holds, drives, and keeps PNB accountable for tactics and progress toward the organization’s equity goals.
- Hosted Beyond Ballet Town Hall in 2017 to investigate the aesthetics of ballet and its lack of diversity and equity.
- Increased audition access in communities historically under-invited to participate in PNBS’ internationally recognized ballet training, as well as adding new cities to the PNB School Audition Tour, including Baltimore, Tokyo, and Osaka.
- Introduced Dance for PD to the PNB School.
- Joined the Seattle Center Racial Equity Cohort (SCREC) to collaborate and strategize in making Seattle Center and its resident organizations more accessible and welcoming as a community gathering place for the for the entire Pacific Northwest.
In addition, PNB:
- Continues to work with children and adults from marginalized populations through its Community Education Programs and School.
- Offers tuition-free training and scholarships through PNB School’s DanceChance program.
- Has a continuous improvement model-based Racial Equity Plan which includes strategies for successful community partnerships, marketing, hiring practices, racial equity trainings, and artistic choices. PNB’s Racial Equity Plan was used as a foundation for the organization’s larger Strategic Plan.
Written in September 2019, and updated June 2020 by members of PNB’s Racial Equity Committee