Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility at PBT


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is committed to increasing equity, access and opportunity in the art of ballet. We believe that bringing together people with diverse perspectives, histories and life experiences will make ballet richer, stronger and more innovative resulting in vibrant experiences for all. 


The Transformation Team is charged with leading impactful change at PBT, including on the stage where we perform and in the communities we serve. Through conversation, education and policy work, the team works to make PBT a safer space and to improve accessibility to the art form of ballet. The team works with leadership to make decisions based in a framework of social justice and to view our organization’s work through an anti-racist lens. The team works with many other arts and nonprofit organizations in the Pittsburgh region, and with our industry peers nationally, to transform ballet into a more inclusive art form.


Launched by Dance/USA, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) and Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2017, The Equity Project was a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies and is an ongoing effort. The Equity Project brought together executive and artistic directors from 21 large-budget ballet organizations with the purpose of increasing the presence of Black people in ballet in all areas of the industry. As a member of the national cohort, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre created the Transformation Team, made up of team members from all facets of the organization, including leadership, the professional Company, School faculty, Board of Directors and administrators. PBT’s Transformation Team continues to work towards PBT’s mission of ballet for all in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.


  • We identify obstacles both at PBT specifically and in ballet more broadly that prevent access to the art form.
  • We generate best practices for the organization through policy, training and education.
  • We hold our organization accountable through identification of measurable goals, evaluation of progress, and reporting on these strategic goals to PBT constituents. 


Inclusion: We define inclusion as intentionality around the valuing and celebration of diverse voices in all conversations, as thoughtful sharing of power and accountability, and as speaking honestly and listening actively.

We listen to those who have been historically excluded and look forward to making ballet more beautiful as we make it more inclusive.

Diversity: We define diversity as the differential factors of life experience that shape each individual, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, cultural experience, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, age, education, language, mobility and ability.

We believe ballet has the potential to tell stories from all perspectives, and we explore how ballet may evolve to celebrate diversity through the promotion of diverse voices and cultures, and through increased representation on and off the stage.

Equity: We define equity as equality of opportunity, and believe that to be equitable is to ensure that all have equal access to both the resources and the support necessary to accomplish their goals.

We believe that equity is essential to the future of our industry and work to expand our community by expanding ownership of the art form of ballet. 

Accessibility: We define accessibility as the creation of physical and mental spaces able to be used and enjoyed by people along multiple and intersecting axes of ability and experience.

We strive to break down barriers that prevent connection with our art through consideration of how ballet can be experienced by everyone, and we work to empower ourselves and our audiences through education and dialogue.

Voted Vibrant Champions


Then and now: documenting diversity


Focus Areas and Subcommittee Work

In 2020, the Transformation Team identified five focus areas for work related to PBT’s IDEA strategic plan and developed a subcommittee around each of these areas, which are: (1) building accessibility …

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How We Are Learning and Working

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre works to obtain top-down buy-in of IDEA initiatives as part of the organization’s strategic plan. Below are some highlights of our recent work. Stay tuned as we …

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Meet the Team

Dr. Kathryn Gigler: Chair of the Equity Project Transformation Team Kathryn L. Gigler has over a decade of experience as an institutional advocate and educator and a career-long commitment to …

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PBT’s IDEA Strategic Plan

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre aspires as an organization to reflect the diversity of the Pittsburgh region. We seek to create opportunities for internal collaboration and to develop communication processes that foster …

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