Boston Ballet Releases Video in Support of NEA

It's a timely expression of gratitude for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image by Ernesto Galan and Boston Ballet

Image by Ernesto Galan via Boston Ballet

With arts funding potentially on the chopping block under the Trump administration, local arts groups are speaking up. Yesterday, the Boston Ballet premiered a new video on its website and Facebook page featuring 22 company dancers conveying through motion what dance means to them. The video was choreographed by Principal Dancer John Lam nine days before funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is set to expire. While April 28 marks the end of the fiscal year, President Trump has made clear his desire to eliminate the NEA entirely.

Lam’s three-minute video shows dancers expressing through dance a single word that represents dance for each of them. Chosen words vary from “joy” to “change,” and, finally, the dancers come together as Lam’s voice explains what dance means to the group as a whole. Principal dancers Paulo Arrais, Kathleen Breen Combes, Lia Cirio, Ashley Ellis, and Lasha Khozashvili are among the company dancers in the video.

“I wanted to create a work that expresses the importance and purpose of dance at this crucial time in our society,” Lam said in a press release. “I believe that dance nourishes our souls and exists in order to perpetuate hope in all humanity. I hope this video inspires the artist in every person.”

The NEA is the largest single funder of nonprofit arts in the United States, though it currently encompasses just 0.005% of the federal budget.

“Art inspires us to explore our humanity and connection to each other,” said Executive Director Meredith (Max) Hodges. “The arts enrich our lives, and the NEA makes this possible. It is critical that we continue to invest in the vitality of our vibrant national culture.”

You can watch the video below.