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

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

South Bank Sky Arts Awards

  • 2020 Dance Award nominee for Ingoma
  • 2015 Dance Award nominee for A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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

Choreographic Nominations

  • 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

Other Nominations

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.