The Ilene Blackman Education Fund

BAX is pleased to announce the establishment of the Ilene Blackman Education Fund to benefit educational initiatives at BAX. As part of BAX’s mission and 30-year history of making high-quality arts education accessible to all we are delighted to establish this fund to honor the memory of Ilene Blackman.

A photo of Ilene Blackman smiling in front of a river rock background.

Ilene Blackman smiles at the camera before a background of variously textured river rocks.

About Ilene Blackman

Independence and perseverance were fundamental pillars of Ilene Blackman’s being.

After studying ballet in Steubenville, Ohio and then in Miami Beach, Ilene moved to NYC at 18 to pursue her dream of dancing on Broadway. Once in New York, she continued to study ballet and acting, auditioned tenaciously, and was cast in numerous shows. She toured with West Side Story, graced the stage with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and performed on Broadway in Tyrone Guthrie’s Gideon.

After marrying and moving to Vermont with her husband and two young sons, Ilene continued in the arts she loved, founding a local professional theatre company and opening up her own dance studio. In teaching ballet, Ilene found a satisfying creative outlet and a deep joy. She nurtured her students with grace, a sense of discipline that came with her deep respect for the craft, and a level of kindness and care that the world needs now more than ever.

While teaching in Rutland, Vermont for nearly 50 years, Ilene continued her acting career by traveling to New York to appear in countless TV and feature film roles. She continued to teach while battling cancer and only stopped when COVID-19 lockdowns forced it. Ilene passed away on April 26, 2020.

Throughout her life, Ilene’s unique style came alive with her wardrobe, which crossed genres and mirrored her personality by breaking the rules in surprising ways. It is only fitting that the consignment of her wardrobe would be the impetus for a scholarship fund to help young dancers pursue their dreams.

The Ilene Blackman Education Fund celebrates her life but, more importantly, celebrates the arts that shaped her life and to which she gave so much of her positive energy.

A photo of Ilene Blackman sitting in front of a ballet barre.

Ilene sits on a black metal chair in front on a ballet barre on a yellow wall. She looks to her left, away from the camera, in deep thought as her hand rests gently on her cheek.

A sepia photo of Ilene Blackman from the early 1960s during her dance career in New York City.

A sepia photograph of Ilene Blackman fro the early 1960s shows Ilene from the torso up looking toward the camera as she elongates her neck, shoulders back and eyes fixed, lined with small cat eye accents. Squares of various shades hang on the wall behind her.