North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and the Boston Ballet have cre­ated a com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tional pro­gram to help pro­fes­sional ballet dancers earn col­lege degrees and to pre­pare them for careers after dancing.

The inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ship, which was pro­filed by The Boston Globe, pro­vides flex­ible and cus­tomized oppor­tu­ni­ties for Boston Ballet dancers to earn under­grad­uate and grad­uate degrees and to take advan­tage of expe­ri­en­tial learning pro­grams, including Northeastern’s renowned co-​​op model. The uni­ver­sity will pro­vide access to its robust infra­struc­ture of aca­d­emic courses and career coaching resources and work with qual­i­fied can­di­dates to stream­line the admis­sions and enroll­ment processes.

The first-​​in-​​the-​​nation initiative—called the North­eastern University-​​Boston Ballet Edu­ca­tion Program—is backed by a com­bined gift from two Boston Ballet board mem­bers: chairman Jack R. Meyer and Henri Ter­meer. Meyer is the CEO Con­vexity Cap­ital Man­age­ment. Ter­meer is the former CEO and chairman of Gen­zyme Cor­po­ra­tion and a pio­neer in devel­oping and deliv­ering treat­ments for rare genetic diseases.

Henri, Jack, and our insti­tu­tions share a ded­i­ca­tion to excel­lence, cul­ture, edu­ca­tion, and the growth of the human spirit,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. “This part­ner­ship is exem­plary of acad­emia and the arts advancing the future of human talent.”

Through the North­eastern University-​​Boston Ballet Edu­ca­tion Pro­gram pro­fes­sional dancers will earn under­grad­uate or grad­uate degrees through the Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies in dis­ci­plines of their choosing. A schol­ar­ship fund has been estab­lished to cover 80 per­cent of the tuition and costs for each of 16 com­pany dancers starting this month. Dancers will be able to com­plete their under­grad­uate degrees in roughly six years.

The pro­gram also cap­i­tal­izes on Northeastern’s lead­er­ship in devel­oping hybrid, flex­ible degree pro­grams designed to meet the indi­vidual needs and inter­ests of tal­ented pro­fes­sionals. Com­pany dancers will take courses on campus, at the Boston Ballet, and online. They will also receive a range of experiential-​​learning opportunities—including co-​​op and internships—that align with their career goals.

Since its founding in 1963, Boston Ballet has evolved into one of the world’s leading ballet com­pa­nies. It attracts dancers from around the globe–17 coun­tries are cur­rently represented.

While the dancers are at the very top of their pro­fes­sion, very few have col­lege degrees. Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to global edu­ca­tion, research, and expe­ri­ences dove­tails with the Ballet’s mis­sion so the part­ner­ship between the two insti­tu­tions com­ple­ment each other well.

The intense rehearsal and per­for­mance sched­ules of the dancers make it nearly impos­sible to earn a col­lege degree,” said Meyer. “The North­eastern pro­gram pro­vides the flex­i­bility and coaching that will allow them to earn a degree while still dancing.”

North­eastern is the per­fect match for Boston’s Ballet,” said Ter­meer. “They are at the leading edge of flex­ible edu­ca­tion and have gone all out to make this pro­gram a suc­cess. We are opti­mistic that our part­ner­ship will expand as we get to know one another.”

Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of Boston Ballet, is equally excited about the part­ner­ship. “We are all thrilled about this new col­lab­o­ra­tion with North­eastern. The oppor­tu­nity is truly a dream come true for today’s pro­fes­sional dancer,” he said.

Boston Ballet exec­u­tive director, Barry Hughson, also sees the part­ner­ship as cru­cial to the evo­lu­tion of the dance busi­ness model, adding, “The future of our industry depends on the talent of our dancers. Our ability to attract, retain, and edu­cate a world-​​class dance force will ensure the sus­tain­ability of not only Boston Ballet—but the arts industry as a whole.”