scorecardresearch Skip to main content

The Black history I carry with me: Tyson Ali Clark

The Boston Ballet artist shares his beautiful resistance

Boston Ballet artist Tyson Ali Clark.Liza Voll

He’s been dancing for almost as long as he’s been walking.

At just three years old, Tyson Ali Clark began training at the Mary Flynn Murphy Dance Studio in Somerville. Now 21, he’s an artist with the Boston Ballet. Clark has dreams of one day becoming a principal dancer.

His elegance, agility, and cornrows wowed at “The Nutcracker.” Dance fills his spirit and it shows.

The Black history I carry with me is:

Alvin Ailey, Carlos Acosta, Arthur Mitchell, that’s to name a few. Also, my ancestors. I’m very much so appreciative of the path they’ve paved.

When you dream of new ways to rise in ballet, what comes to mind?


Excitement. At the age of 21, I’m at the beginning of my career. Working with my colleagues and creating with a diverse variety of choreographers fills me with such gratitude.

What gives you joy?

Family and friends. There aren’t many people who know you as well as the ones you hold close. They play an essential part in my every day.

Describe your earliest memory of dance.

Growing up with two older sisters who were dancers, performing arts was introduced to me very young. One distinct memory I’d say is seeing Alvin Ailey and Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” The impact was immense; the athleticism with grace was very intriguing.

My life is a beautiful resistance because:

Knowing the circumstances and origin of ballet, knowing it’s majority-white past, it sparks a certain motivation and inner drive to my approach. My intent is to inspire the next generation of Black dancers.

Follow @tys.ali on Instagram.

Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at Follow her @sincerelyjenee and on Instagram @abeautifulresistance.