Empowering Students to Launch Dynamic Careers

Associate Professor of Dance Anthony Burrell shares how he brings his vast real-world expertise into the classroom.

March 20, 2023

With a versatile background spanning classical and commercial dance worlds, Anthony Burrell teaches in both the contemporary dance and new commercial dance programs at Boston Conservatory. A former member of the venerable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he has also been a creative director and choreographer for a lengthy roster of pop artists, including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, and Rihanna. Most recently, he took part in the filming of the movie musical The Color Purple, produced by Oprah Winfrey. “I’m excited for this project, not only because it’s one of 2023’s most anticipated films, but because I got to work with some of my favorite actors, singers, and creatives,” he says. “During filming, I knew I was a part of something so special.”

To maintain balance between his performance career and teaching, he chooses his projects carefully. “Every project I do outside of teaching is always a passion field project,” he says. This includes a recent role mentoring BIPOC youth in underserved Boston communities. He finds inspiration in the raw talent and promise of these students as well as those at Boston Conservatory, where his fundamental message to his dance students is preparation:

“Be ready for any and every extension that your craft may invite.”

Burrell urges students to build as much knowledge as they can from the styles, techniques, and background of the clients, choreographers, and directors of every production they audition for. “Always work smarter and harder than you did the day before,” he tells his students. “This dedication, determination, and discipline will sustain your career and maintain your love and respect for what you do.”