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Photo of a woman in a pink dress smiling as she holds onto a balance bar in a ballet dance studio while she teaches

Principal Academy Consultant

Margaret Tracey

International Dance Educator and
former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet

Photography: Igor Burlak

Born in Pueblo, Colorado, Margaret Tracey began ballet studies with her mother, Nancy Tracey, at age six. In 1982, she was accepted as a student to the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet (NYCB). At SAB, she was the recipient of an Atlantic Richfield Foundation Scholarship (1982-85) as well as a Princess Grace Foundation Award (1985-86) that cited her “exceptional promise and dedication to excellence.”

In 1986, Tracey joined the NYCB corps de ballet, launching a celebrated 16-year stage career. A principal dancer from 1991 until her retirement in 2002, she excelled in the Balanchine repertoire, appearing frequently in such core works as Apollo, Allegro Brilliante, Ballo della Regina, Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Square Dance, Symphony in C, Vienna Waltzes, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?, among others. She was also featured in a range of Robbins’ ballets, including Andantino, Afternoon of a Faun, The Four Seasons, and The Goldberg Variations, and created a role in the choreographer’s Ives, Songs (1988). She originated roles in works by William Forsythe, Richard Tanner, Ib Andersen, Trey McIntyre and Peter Martins, including Martins’s Les Petit Riens, Fearful Symmetries, Zakouski and his production of The Sleeping Beauty, in which she appeared both as Princess Aurora and Princess Florine.

With NYCB, Tracey toured Europe and Asia, appeared in the PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” series, and danced the Marzipan Shepherdess in the 1993 film of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

As a Balanchine Repetiteur, Tracey has staged several of Balanchine’s works including Concerto Barocco, Theme and Variations, Scotch Symphony, Raymonda Variations, and Divertimento #15, among others, on both professional companies and schools. In 2011 she was recognized with a Jerome Robbins Foundation Award for her distinguished interpretation as a Robbins’ dancer. 

Since retiring from New York City Ballet in 2002, Tracey has become an admired and dedicated teacher and arts advocate. She served as the Director of Boston Ballet School (BBS) from 2007-2021 and was profiled in a 2009 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. During her tenure at BBS, Tracey drew upon her teaching experiences, studies in psychology, and ties to community clinicians to initiate a comprehensive Wellness Program at BBS. She also created Next Generation, a year-end performance showcasing pre-professional students, which has become an annual highlight that spotlights BBS as a leader in local and regional arts education. Her stature in the dance world brought BBS extraordinary access to the Balanchine and Robbins repertoire, enhancing the training and performance experience for students. In addition, Tracey committed to commissioning underrepresented voices in choreography by amplifying the work of women and BIPOC choreographers such as Jill Johnson, Lia Cirio and Ja’ Malik, among others.  Tracey further distinguished BBS internationally by establishing exchange programs with Canada’s National Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School, the Royal Danish Ballet and Dresden’s Semperoper Ballet. Under her leadership, BBS also became a partner school with the prestigious Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition.

Tracey continues to dedicate her efforts as a dance educator with a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access to champion change.  In her final year at BBS, she implemented a mentorship program, Color Our Future (COF) for students to connect with professional dancers seeking racial equity in the field. She has served on panels for MoBBallet’s annual educational symposiums (2019 and 2020) and has worked with colleagues at DanceUSA School Directors Affinity Group to share learning around culturally responsive teaching practices to better support faculty. Tracey’s work as an international arts educator continues as she serves on the organizing committee for World Ballet School Day (2020 and 2021), an event that brings together students from across the globe to highlight their voices and support the next generation of inspiring dance artists.