Lourdes Lopez, artistic director of Miami City Ballet, serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. With nearly 40 years of experience in the fields of dance, television, teaching, and arts management, she is the first artist to serve as a foundation trustee.

Lopez began her ballet studies at the age of 5, and when she was 11 received a full scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet as part of an effort supported by the Ford Foundation to expand opportunities for arts participation and strengthen America’s leading cultural anchors. At only 16 years of age, she was invited to join New York City Ballet, where, for more than two decades, she danced for two legends of the art form: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Ultimately, she was promoted to the rank of principal dancer.

After retiring from the stage, Lopez joined WNBC-TV in New York as an on-air cultural arts reporter, writing and producing feature segments on the arts, artists, and arts education. Later, she served as director of student placement, student evaluation, and curriculum planning at New York’s Ballet Academy East, where she was also a full-time senior faculty member. She served on the dance faculty of Barnard College and guest taught at numerous dance institutions and festivals in the United States.

In 2002, Lopez became executive director of the George Balanchine Foundation, which works to educate the public about dance and further the art of ballet, with a special emphasis on the work and achievements of George Balanchine. She also co-founded and is on the board of the Cuban Artists Fund, which supports Cuban and Cuban American artists in their endeavors.

Lopez has served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She assumed the artistic directorship of Miami City Ballet, a major repository of the works of George Balanchine, in 2012. That year, she received an award from the American Immigration Law Foundation honoring Cuban Americans for their accomplishments and contributions to American society, and in 2011 she was honored with the prestigious Jerome Robbins Award for her years in dance.