'I Want to Make the Arts More a Part of Our Culture'

Dancer in front of a window

As a professional ballet dancer for the past two decades, Kathleen Breen Combes grew accustomed to changing directions on a dime. She did it since she was 18—floating across the stage during productions of Don QuixoteRomeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake, among many others.

But now she’s facing a pivot of a different kind. Breen Combes, who closed out a 16-year career at the Boston Ballet with a final performance of ELA, Rhapsody in Blue on June 9, is retiring as a dancer to take the helm at Festival Ballet Providence, a professional ballet company in Rhode Island. And she’s doing it with the help of a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Northeastern University.

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