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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Janet Rollé Makes History as First Black CEO of the American Ballet Theatre

Janet Rolle

Nationwide — Janet Rollé has recently been named the new CEO and Executive Director of the American Ballet Theatre, making her the first Black person to lead the prestigious ballet company in its 65-year history.

At the age of 8, Rollé started learning to dance since her mother, who is an immigrant from Jamaica, took her to a dance class. She continued honing her skills and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the State University of New York.

“Through dance, I learned how to be a professional, the value of discipline and technique, and my love for the creative process. These lessons have always been at the core of my professional life and work,” Rollé said, according to The Philadelphia Tribune.

Rollé has had remarkable qualifications not only as a dancer but also as a businesswoman. She earned her MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where she was the President of the Black Business Students Association. She eventually became the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for CNN Worldwide.

What’s more, Rollé had been the general manager of Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment for 5 years. At that time, she served as the associate producer of Beyoncé’s historic Coachella performance and the executive producer of Beyonce’s award-winning visual album Black Is King which is the accompaniment for the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King.

Now, Rollé is taking on a new and historic role as the CEO and executive director of the American Ballet Theatre, which will officially take effect on January 3, 2022. It was a significant move in the ballet industry which has been known as historically White-dominated.

“It is, therefore, a singular privilege to be entrusted by the Board to preserve and extend the legacy of American Ballet Theatre, and to ensure its future prosperity, cultural impact, and relevance. To come full circle and be in a position to give back to the art that has given me so much is a source of unbridled and immense joy,” Rollé said.