PNB Black History Month Profile: Jonathan Batista

PNB invited employees who celebrate Black History Month to share their stories with us – we hope you enjoy.

Stories may be edited and condensed for clarity. 

How long have you been with PNB?

I have been with PNB for 3 seasons.

Do you have a favorite ballet or ballets?

Swan Lake, Giselle, and Allegro Brillante are favorites.

PNB dancer Jonathan Batista.

Who or what inspires you?

The rich history of black dancers has been a profound inspiration for me, laying the groundwork for black excellence and paving the way for my journey as a dancer. Among these influential figures are Arthur Mitchell, Debra Austin, Lauren Anderson, Misty Copeland, Brooklyn Mack, and our esteemed Kabby Mitchell. Kabby, as the first black dancer to join Pacific Northwest Ballet, has left an indelible mark on our Seattle community.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Being a black ballet dancer means embodying resilience, defying stereotypes, and honoring the legacy of trailblazers and many other black dancers who laid the foundations for my generation.

Black ballet dancers inspire hope and pride, pushing boundaries and leaving a lasting impact on an art form that continues to evolve.

In celebrating Black History Month, we recognize our past and present invaluable contributions to the cultural tapestry of humanity.

Anything else you’d like us to share?

Black History Month holds profound significance as a dedicated period to celebrate, honor, and reflect upon the achievements, contributions, and struggles of Black individuals throughout history. It provides an opportunity to spotlight the rich heritage, cultural impact, and resilience of the Black community. Moreover, Black History Month serves as a reminder to acknowledge the essential role Black individuals have played in shaping societies, fostering positive change, and contributing to various fields, including arts, sciences, politics, and beyond. It’s a time for education, recognition, and fostering understanding, aiming to create a more inclusive and equitable future.

Bio: Jonathan Batista received scholarships to train at the English National Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, and The Royal Ballet School.

His impressive career includes performances with renowned companies such as the English National Ballet, Miami City Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet. In 2021, Jonathan joined the Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Soloist, achieving a swift promotion to Principal Dancer in 2022.

Recognized for his significant contributions to the ballet and dance community, Jonathan received the Dance & Music Award from the TAFT Award Foundation in 2021. Furthermore, in 2023, he was honored as the Entertainer of the Year by POCAAN in Seattle.

Jonathan Batista’s artistry has extended far and wide, as he has graced Galas across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Jamaica, Switzerland, England, and beyond. Notably, he was recently featured in the esteemed Stars of American Ballet in Santa Fe, NM.

Jonathan Batista’s accomplishments have garnered attention from numerous esteemed publications and media outlets. His performances and contributions have been featured in a variety of magazines including Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, Dance Informa, L’Officiel Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence Magazine, and Ebony Magazine. Additionally, his talent has been recognized by major news networks such as CBS News and Fox News, solidifying his status as a prominent figure in the world of dance.

Currently, Jonathan holds the position of Principal Dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, continuing to inspire audiences with his exceptional talent and dedication to the craft.

Photo credits: Jonathan Batista, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Jonathan Batista, photo © Angela Sterling. Jonathan Batista in Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, photo © Lindsay Thomas.