About Us

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.

Read more about our progression over the past decade on our History page.
You can also read a more in-depth profile on our company founder and Artistic Director, Cassa Pancho MBE here.

Awards & Nominations

South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2015

  • Dance 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

  • Best Dance Production Award (winner) – Ingoma by Ballet Black

Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards

  • Best Independent Company 2018 – shortlisted
  • Best Independent Company 2014 – shortlisted
  • Winner Best Independent Company 2012
  • Winner Outstanding Company 2009

Choreographic Nominations

  • Storyville by Christopher Hampson – shortlisted 2012
  • A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Arthur Pita – shortlisted 2014
  • The Suit by Cathy Marston – winner Best Classical Choreography 2018

Other Nominations

Critics Circle – Dancer nominations

Outstanding Female (classical)

  • Sara Kundi shortlisted 2009
  • Cira Robinson shortlisted 2013

Outstanding Male (classical)

  • Jose Alves – Winner of the Outstanding Male Classical Performance 2018

Emerging Artist Award

  • Mthuthuzeli November (Choreographer, Ballet Black) 2019 – shortlisted

Lightning Design Award Nominations

  • Winner of the 2018 Knight of Illumination Award for Dance: David Plater for his design of Cathy Marston’s The Suit.

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.