Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Meet Our Artists: Theresa Ruth Howard

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!

Name: Theresa Ruth Howard

What do you do? 
I work as a Diversity Strategist and consultant assisting arts organizations better understand, design and implement DEI programs and initiatives. Pacific Northwest Ballet invited me to curate and facilitate a Townhall gathering entitled Beyond Ballet, a conversation investigating aesthetics, diversity, equity, and the efforts to redesign arts institutions. Presently I serve as a member of the Design and Facilitation Team on The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies. The Equity Project brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 large budget, professional ballet organizations for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing the presence of Blacks in ballet in all areas of the industry.

I am also the Founder & Curator of MoBBallet. MoBBallet preserves and presents the contributions of Blacks in ballet globally. MoBBallet’s inaugural project was a partnership with the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) organizing of the first annual audition for Black female ballet dancers at their 2015 conference in Denver. I helped facilitate the dialogue on diversity in ballet with the 15 major ballet organizations in participation.

In addition to MoBB’s online initiative to curate the stories of Black Ballet artists internationally, it presents panels, workshops and gatherings dedicated to building bridges of understanding and education between communities and cultures in dance and beyond. MoBBallet’s "DO YOU KNOW..." social media campaign introduces followers to Black ballet dancers and accomplishments that are not widely known in an effort broaden the awareness of the contribution of Blacks in ballet.

Follow @mobballet on Instagram

What inspires you?
We are inspired by the artists we advocate for. Bringing the legacy of Blacks in ballet out of the shadows and shining light on their virtuosity in the form is thrilling!

What are you proud of?

MoBBallet is proud that in the short time we have been in existence we have made an impact. We have forged relationships with large ballet organizations and have a seat at the table in discussions of diversity and inclusion – and we hope to encourage EQUITY.

What are your goals?
MoBBallet is working to bring forth more stories from the artist's mouths. We are working to have artist's pages for EVERY one of the 327 (so far) dancers on our Roll Call from which we aspire to build a mentoring program. There is work to be done!

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
We encourage all brown ballet artists to keep making stories for MoBBallet to tell. We are here to support and document your successes and will advocate for you every step of the way.

How does The Field help you?

The Field has been essential to our growth, and has provided guidance and support in our foundational moments. Thank you for your support.

All content © Theresa Ruth Howard / MoBBallet

Additional Viewing:
IABD's First Annual Audition for Women of Color HD

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