Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access

IDEA Statement

Charlottesville Ballet is committed to actively promoting inclusion, diversity, equity, and access throughout the organization to create a welcoming environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

The organization was founded with core values to serve individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities within our studios and the larger community. We believe that diversity drives innovation and higher quality art. We embrace the unique complexity and beauty of all individuals, each reflecting a multi-faceted combination of factors that include culture, race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, family or economic status. 

Charlottesville Ballet renounces all forms of discrimination and exclusion. We pledge to amplify the voices that reflect the diversity of our communities. We will hold ourselves accountable, remaining humble and open to learning. We will continue to work within our own institution to adopt best practices that create a culture of belonging. This necessary and important journey will continue to evolve, and by working together we will enhance the Charlottesville Ballet family, the Central Virginia community, and the far-reaching world of dance.

Keith Lee, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Resident Choreographer

Keith Lee is a master teacher and choreographer from the Bronx, New York where he trained at the High School of Performing Arts in NYC. In 1969, Mr. Lee joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to the rank of soloist the following year. He then pursued his career at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre as their ballet master. He has choreographed works for American Ballet Theatre, the Washington Ballet, the Geneva Ballet, the Oakland Ballet, the Garden State Ballet, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the Lexington Ballet, and the Charlottesville Ballet. Mr. Lee calls Central Virginia home and continues to work as a freelance choreographer, teacher, and performing arts coordinator. He has been part of the Charlottesville Ballet since its first season in 2008, serving as Associate Director in the company’s early years and as Resident Choreographer. In 2020, Mr. Lee expanded his role as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, overseeing all facets of the organization.

Some of our Work


The IDEA Committee

We created the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Committee in 2021 as a multi-faceted group of board members, staff, volunteers, and alumnae who are committed to strategy, oversight, and evaluation of all Charlottesville Ballet programs.

Since its inception in 2007, the Charlottesville Ballet has been committed to elevating the art of dance through an approach that prioritizes the health and well-being of our dancers, students, and community. Integral to this approach is recognizing that inclusion, diversity, equity, and access are essential to provide the richest possible experience with the widest possible reach. 

We embrace the unique complexity and beauty of all individuals, each reflecting a multi-faceted combination of factors that include culture, race, ethnicity, nationality, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, family or economic status.

We commit to offering equal access to opportunity for all members of our company and staff, high quality dance education for all who are willing to learn, and free community outreach programs that are designed to spread the joy of dance to underserved populations in Central Virginia. Charlottesville Ballet is also committed to staging performances that showcase the creativity of diverse artists and choreographers in ways that will foster a love of dance throughout Central Virginia. 

To realize our vision of a company, academy, and community that are truly welcoming to all, the IDEA Committee will evaluate how well our organization’s structures, systems, and practices serve those commitments and what specific steps might bring the Charlottesville Ballet closer to our ideal of a community that values, connects, inspires, and elevates all its members.

IDEA Committee Meetings: approximately 3-4 times per year; Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:30PM over Zoom

For more information, please email Co-Director Emily Hartka ([email protected]).

The Keith Lee Scholarship Fund

Thank you to our dedicated volunteers from the IDEA Committee charged with selecting the inaugural cohort of Keith Lee Scholarship recipients for the 2023-24 Academic Year!

Maria Chee, Lecturer in Anthropology & Ethnic Studies and CB Moves Teaching Artist

Jaime Hawkins, African American Teaching Fellow, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist at Charlottesville Day School and CBA Parent

Jessica Johnson, Director of Research at the Karsh Institute of Democracy at UVA and CBA Parent

Aqura Nicholson, Money Coach at All The Plans LLC, former student of Keith Lee, and current CBA Student

Keith Lee, Artist Laureate, Resident Choreographer and Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Julie Caprio, Artistic Director of Hamilton Ballet Theatre NJ

Carol Krohn, CB Board Member and IDEA Committee Chair

Claudia Strawderman, Development Coordinator and CB Staff Liaison