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Boston Ballet Initiative Empowers Women Choreographers

BOSTON (CBS) -- For years, women have been under-represented on the creative side of the ballet world. Boston Ballet is trying to change that.

The year-old ChoreograpHER Initiative encourages female members of the company to put their own stamp on the work we see on stage.

In the season opener, "Giselle," the woman who once danced the title role has restaged the production for the next generation.

The Boston Ballet (WBZ-TV)

Larissa Ponomarenko says there's no need to do too much to a classical ballet that was created in 1841.

"There's no need to redo too much, just some adjustments to amount of people on stage, because the size of the company is different," Ponomarenko said.  "Just maybe aiding slightly different technical elements to make it more interesting for male dancers."

Principal dancer Lia Cirio is one of several women playing Giselle during the run at the Citizen's Bank Opera House.

She is grateful for Ponomarenko's guidance. "Getting to see her impart her knowledge of the role is just incredible. It pushes me to become even better."

Lia Cirio (WBZ-TV)

Cirio has also participated in the ChoreograpHER Initiative, although she never thought she'd want to be a choreographer.

She said "when a sign went up, I was like, 'oh, I'll just try it,' and then it became this amazing thing for women...For so long, the woman was this object, almost, and the man was like 'you do this, you do this' and I think it's really cool that now we can say, 'I would like you to do this.' Roles have reversed a little which is great."

Cirio is now working on her third piece. "I'm really pushing myself and trying to experiment and take risks which is cool because that is what this project is about," she said.

That is something Ponomarkenko applauds. She said, "it's just wonderful to see all these ladies coming up with these ideas."

Gisele runs through September 29th. To get tickets, click here.

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