Introducing Barbara | Program Director at Ballet & Books
My name is Barbara McAlister and I recently joined Ballet and Books as Program Director. My role includes pursuing strategic partnerships & collaborations, fostering a broader network of donors by raising awareness about what we do here at Ballet and Books, and supporting the remarkable people of our National Leadership Team.
I grew up skidding knees-first across sports courts and jamming for joy to Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda videos in turquoise tights. I took my first studio dance classes while completing a self-designed BA in ethnomusicology at Mount Holyoke College in my home state of Massachusetts. After college, I moved to Texas for work and eventually to Denton, TX where I am pursuing my MFA in Dance at Texas Woman’s University and researching artist-entrepreneurship through a generous grant from the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership. Some of my proudest moments during this season include performing in The Running Show with Monica Bill Barnes at the American Dance Festival and seeing my dance films travel to festivals in more countries than I’ve ever been to! One day, I want to pursue my Ph.D, but first I’ll need a few good years of dancemaking, filmmaking, hiking, and global exploration before I’m ready to climb that mountain.
In the dance world, I’ve worn many hats. I’ve been a choreographer, a filmmaker, a scholar, a graduate student, a teacher, a director, a performer, a disruptor, an advocate, an entrepreneur, and “many more identities that are still unfolding.” Ballet & Books caught my attention because it not only combines social justice, art, and education but does so in a way that listens and responds to desires and needs as expressed by communities with whom we collaborate. I’m elated to be part of such a forward thinking team putting belief into action and bettering the future of the next generations.
Fun fact about me: I live for tart-flavored snow cones!