Ben Needham-Wood

Dancer and Choreographer

What do you do and why?

I feel fortunate to have followed my passion and built a career as a professional ballet dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. In every interaction we share, body language serves as our most primal form of communication and can dramatically influence the exchange. Dance takes body language and transforms it into art, offering a unique expression that can transport an audience away from their worries, showcase the brilliance of our physical selves, and inspire people to dream of a brighter future.

What change would you like to enact in the world?

My life was forever changed when I embraced how everything in our life has both positives and negatives, and it’s up to us to choose which perspective we wish to indulge. Recent world events have turned the spotlight towards harsh, tragic circumstances across the globe, leading many of us to feel overburdened by the despair of others. I wish we could shift the mental approach away from the gravity of those difficulties, and instead feel uplifted by a rallying effort to enact positive change.

If I could change the world, it would be to help inspire others to focus on celebrating the potential in each other, rather than mourning the struggles that hold us back.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I can “technically” say I’ve performed for Madonna. When I was a kid studying dance in NYC, I was walking down the street with my family and we stumbled across a camera crew filming a new Corvette commercial. Apparently, this commercial was directed by Guy Ritchie, and Madonna just happened to be there at that moment to say “hello” to her hubby. My mom turned to me and said, “Ben, this is your chance! Do something!” So I ran out into the middle of the street and started doing every trick I could think of, from ballet to breakdancing. Madonna stopped what she was doing, tipped her sunglasses down, and smiled at me before climbing in a big SUV and taking off. I was not contacted to be in her next music video, but felt pretty solid getting a smile from Madonna.

Why did you join IVY?

I have always found the most personal growth when meeting new people and learning from their experiences. IVY’s network of thought-driven young professionals offers so many unique connections, all with their own accolades and resources, that I knew it would be a community that could inspire me to do more. I joined IVY out of curiosity, to find new inspiration and greater understanding — and with every IVY event, I feel I’ve found both.

What has been your most memorable IVY Experience?

I was very proud to help organize an IVY event with my dance company, Smuin, where we invited IVY Members to sit in on a rehearsal and meet with our Artistic Director to learn about life in a ballet company. This event gave me the chance to share my world with a group of people who have never before experienced the performing arts in this way. Later, in conversation with many of them, I learned that the event shifted the way they understood the value of the arts and how it can impact their lives.

To hear people that are more familiar with tech or corporate America reflect on how they can reassess their own work environments based on the examples we offered as an arts organization — that truly helped reaffirm my belief in the progressive potential of the artistic perspective.

To connect with Ben Needham-Wood and thousands of inspiring IVY member, 

join IVY today!

IVY for You IVY for Teams IVY for YPO

To connect with Ben Needham-Wood and thousands of inspiring IVY members, 
join IVY today!

IVY for You IVY for Teams IVY for YPO


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