Olivia Boisson is a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. From the first time Olivia saw professional ballet dancers perform, it was love at first sight. From the very first day she stepped into a ballet studio, teachers noticed she had a sense of joy and determination, even at a young age. As she developed her skills, they saw the potential she possessed to become a professional dancer. Olivia has realized her professional dreams in a space where very few women of color even enter. As such, in 2012 as an apprentice, she was the first African-American woman to join NYCB in over a decade.
Favorite Quote: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and then suddenly you are doing the impossible!”
St. Francis of Assisi
Olivia was born in Queens, New York, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She began her dance training at the age of six when her mother enrolled her at The Ballet Arts School of Forest Hills.
On her ninth birthday she auditioned for the ballet school at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and was accepted into their pre-professional program. There she trained in various styles of dance under Dance Theatre of Harlem’s founder Arthur Mitchell. After training there for four years, she auditioned for the School of American Ballet (SAB) at the age of 13.
What’s it like to be in the Corps de Ballet?
Watch Ep. 3-City Ballet
In the fall of 2004, Olivia enrolled as a full-time student at SAB. In August 2012, Ms. Boisson became an apprentice with NYCB, and the following December, she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Olivia was the recipient of the 2012 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
Olivia has performed in a variety of ballets, including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Scherzo a la Russe, and Valse Mélancolique, Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet, and pieces from the Choreographic Institute.
Advice for Aspiring Young Dancers
Q: From Cosette in MN: In order to be well rounded and have all aspects of good technique what should a dancer do if one aspect is much stronger; should they work more on their high point to make them stand out or work on their low point?
A: Olivia: A dancer should not only work on aspects they are strong in but aspects they are not as strong in because that will make you a well more well rounded dancer.
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