Equitable inclusion in ballet training is central to José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s mission. For many years, the School at Ballet Theatre has striven to include people of all body types, ability levels, ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
In September 2015, José Mateo Ballet Theatre opened a new branch of its ballet studio in Dorchester, located at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at Upham’s Corner. The program has expanded to include Level 1 (for ages 7+) and currently has over 50 students enrolled. In addition, the studio is located around the corner from the historic Strand Theatre, the current hub of JMBT’s performing work.
ABOUT ST. MARY’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was established in 1847, the first Episcopal church in Dorchester. Originally built on Bowdoin Street, the current sanctuary on Cushing Avenue was built by gothic architect Henry Vaughan after a fire destroyed the original structure in 1887. Vaughan designed the church in the Tudor Revival style, including design elements such as an exposed truss ceiling, and beautiful stained glass featuring works from Tiffany, Connick, Burnham and Goodhue. In 1893 a transept and chancel were added, designed by Hartwell and Richardson, and in 1903 a small gable-roofed parish hall was erected adjacent to the sanctuary designed by Charles K Cummings to match the sanctuary’s style. St. Mary’s is the only Boston church designed by Vaughan.
In 1998, the facility was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic landmark due to its national and local significance.