Class Day Speaker Representing the Classes of 2020 and 2021 Announced

This year’s speaker representing the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 is Alison (Ali) Block. The honoree was selected by a special committee to address their peers at the 2022 GS Class Day ceremony, speaking to the unique experiences that the Classes of 2020 and 2021 shared as they worked to overcome the challenges of finding success and graduating during the pandemic. 

May 11, 2022

A professional ballet dancer originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Ali pursued dance at a young age, eventually graduating simultaneously from both high school and conservatory at North Carolina School of the Arts in 2008, after which she spent an additional year training at Miami City Ballet School. In 2009, she was contracted by the Texas Ballet Theater in Dallas/Fort Worth, and later danced with Eugene Ballet Company in Oregon. She performed as Clara in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was invited to be part of the national tour. Ali also performed Balanchine’s Serenade at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Gala, and is featured in Steve Childs’s documentary And We Will Dance.

In 2014, Ali relocated to continue her professional ballet career as a freelance artist in New York City while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the Columbia School of General Studies. At GS, Ali studied psychology while continuing to dance, and was an active member and leader in the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. Aside from dance, Ali dedicated much of her time as an undergraduate student to research, writing her honors thesis on the role of cultural norms in the workplace on women’s use of voice and reporting of sexual harassment in the world of professional ballet. She also worked as a research assistant for the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind, and served as a teacher’s assistant in several cultural psychology courses.

Ali graduated from GS as salutatorian of the Class of 2020, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and as a recipient of the Jennifer A. Pack Prize for excellence in the study of psychology. She is currently co-authoring a research paper on professional ballet dancers in the workplace, perfectionism, mental health, and organizational culture through the Boston College School of Management. She is also the executive and research assistant to former Chief Psychiatrist of the State of New York Dr. Rami Kaminski. Ali continues to dance professionally as a company member with Eglevsky Ballet and Thomas/Ortiz Dance, in addition to freelancing with numerous companies and guest performing across the country.