Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black is a professional ballet company that celebrates dancers of Black and Asian descent. We are making a fundamental change in the diversity of classical ballet in Britain – on stage, behind the scenes, and among audiences and dance students. In the nineteen years since Ballet Black was founded (2001), we have worked to change the landscape of classical ballet through performances, our Junior School and our outreach programmes. We are one of the most prolific commissioners of new and critically acclaimed ballets in the UK, and have developed diverse dance audiences across the country. Ballet Black is also playing a role in advocating wider societal change through cutting-edge collaborations, including working to create the first UK made pointe shoes for Black, Brown and Asian dancers.
Our ultimate goal is to see a fundamental change in the number of Black and culturally diverse dancers in mainstream ballet companies, making our initial vision wonderfully unnecessary.
Awards & Nominations
South Bank Sky Arts Awards
- 2020 Dance Award nominee for Ingoma
- 2015 Dance Award nominee for A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Olivier Award Nominations
- 2020 (Winner) – Best New Dance Production – Ingoma by Mthuthuzeli November for Ballet Black at the Barbican & Royal Opera House – Linbury Theatre
- 2014 (Shortlisted) Outstanding Achievement in Dance, Arthur Pita for his work A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Black British Theatre Awards
- 2020 – Best Dance Production Award, Ingoma by Ballet Black – winner
Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
- 2019 Best Independent Company – shortlisted
- 2018 Best Independent Company – shortlisted
- 2014 Best Independent Company – shortlisted
- 2012 Best Independent Company – winner
- 2009 Outstanding Company 2009 – winner
- 2018 – The Suit by Cathy Marston – winner Best Classical Choreography – winner
- 2014 – A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Arthur Pita – shortlisted
- 2012 – Storyville by Christopher Hampson – shortlisted
Critics Circle – Dancer nominations
Outstanding Female (classical)
- 2013 – Cira Robinson – shortlisted
- 2009 – Sara Kundi – shortlisted
Outstanding Male (classical)
- 2018 – Jose Alves – Outstanding Male Classical Performance – winner
Emerging Artist Award
- 2019 – Mthuthuzeli November (Choreographer, Ballet Black) – shortlisted
Lightning Design Award Nominations
- 2018 – Knight of Illumination Award for Dance: David Plater for his design of Cathy Marston’s The Suit. – winner
Production Award Nominations
- 2018 – UK Theatre Awards nomination for Achievement in Dance – ‘Ballet Black for Cathy Marston’s The Suit, perfectly paired with Arthur Pita’s A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘.
Cassa Pancho received an MBE in the 2013 New Years Honours list for services to ballet and in 2018 Cassa was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.