Pennsylvania Ballet

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The Pennsylvania Ballet
General information
Name The Pennsylvania Ballet
Year founded 1963
Founders Barbara Weisberger
Principal venue
Artistic staff
Artistic Director Roy Kaiser, through August 2014, Ángel Corella, September 2014-
Ballet Master Jeffrey Gribler
Ballet Mistress Tamara Hadley
Music Director Beatrice Jona Affron
Orchestra The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra
Official school School of Pennsylvania Ballet
Formation Principal Dancer
Corps de Ballet

Pennsylvania Ballet is a ballet company in the United States. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company’s annual local season features six programs of classic favorites and new works, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. The company’s artistic director is former principal dancer Roy Kaiser. Roy Kaiser announced that he would be stepping down in September, 2014. Following Kaiser's departure, Ángel Corella will take over as artistic director.

Company history[edit]

Pennsylvania Ballet was established in 1963 by Barbara Weisberger, a protégée of George Balanchine, through a Ford Foundation initiative to develop regional professional dance companies, and has been at the forefront of American dance since that year. A Philadelphia cultural institution, the company has earned a national reputation for its impassioned artistry and technical virtuosity,[citation needed] and has received widespread critical acclaim for its performances of a diverse classical and contemporary repertoire with a Balanchine base.[citation needed] The energy and exuberance of its versatile dancers are the company’s enduring signature.[citation needed]

A leader[citation needed] in the regional ballet movement of the 1960s, the company performed in the national spotlight for the first time in 1968 at New York City Center – a debut that led to a decade of national touring, appearances on PBS’ “Dance in America” series, and a stint as the official company of the Brooklyn Academy of Music during the 1970s. From 1987 to 1989, Pennsylvania Ballet forged an alliance with Milwaukee Ballet in an unprecedented venture to create one company. The new organization, with 43 dancers and a greatly expanded repertoire, was the first in the country to offer its dancers year-round employment.

In 1995, the trustees of Pennsylvania Ballet selected its first homegrown artistic director, Roy Kaiser. A former company member hired in 1979 by Barbara Weisberger, Kaiser rose through the ranks to become a principal in 1990. Following his retirement from the stage in 1992, Kaiser served as principal ballet master and associate artistic director under Christopher d'Amboise before being named to his current position.

Under Kaiser’s leadership, the company has expanded its Balanchine-based repertoire to include new works from both established and emerging choreographers. New works have included premieres of original ballets from choreographers like Merce Cunningham, Christopher d'Amboise, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, David Parsons, Val Caniparoli, Benjamin Millepied, and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as the highly acclaimed 40th anniversary commission of Swan Lake by Christopher Wheeldon and the 2007 world premiere of Matthew Neenan’s Carmina Burana. Currently employing 37 dancers, Pennsylvania Ballet annually presents a season of six programs (including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ ) that balance classic ballets with new works that challenge the dancers and attract a diverse audience. The company also tours throughout Pennsylvania and the East Coast to venues such as New York City Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It made its international debut at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2005.


Fourteen members of Pennsylvania Ballet appeared as the corps in the film Black Swan, which was released in 2010.[1][2] In the 2012–2013 season, the Pennsylvania Ballet will be performing six productions. These will be performed at the Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater. Pennsylvania Ballet plans to tour to The McCarter Theater in October 2012 and to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the Ballet Across America program in June 2013. Along with these performances the Pennsylvania Ballet II, the company’s pre-professional program, will be performing outreach and educational performances.


Company dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet, as of 2012:[3]



Corps de Ballet[edit]


Pennsylvania Ballet II[edit]

Pennsylvania Ballet II was created in 2002 by Joyce and Herbert Kean. This part of the company was created as a pre-professional training company. The dancers in this program practice frequently with the company and are used as dancers in the larger productions. They are under the direction of William DeGregory and consist of eight members. Pennsylvania Ballet II also is involved with many outreach and educational programs.

Outreach Programs[edit]

Over the past several years, Pennsylvania Ballet has increased its reach through creative programming initiatives such as the Family Matinee Series, the Prologue Lecture Series, and its outreach and education program, Accent on Dance, which serves over 11,000 children each year. Pennsylvania Ballet II does around 25 shows for the surrounding Philadelphia communities. Other Out Reach programs include ticket give away to participating schools, studio tours, and school shows.

Artistic Staff[edit]

Roy Kaiser is the artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet. He was a principal dancer for the company until 1992 when he retired to become the PAB Ballet Master. Roy Kaiser has been said to have had a very influential effect on this company. He also participates in other programs such as the New York Choreographic Institute.[4]

Jeffery Gribler has been the ballet master since 1986. He started his career in the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1975 when he became an apprentice. He then worked his way up to principal dancer.

Tamara Hadley is a former Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer after joining the company in 1975.

William DeGregory is a former Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer he became the director of Pennsylvania Ballet II when it was first created in 2002.

Michael Sheridan has danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet and is now the assistant to the artistic director.

Matthew Neenan is Pennsylvania Ballet’s first choreographer in residence. He danced for the company from 1994–2007.

Christine Cox is Pennsylvania Ballet's children's director. Also, she is co-founder of the dance company, Ballet X.

Schedule for 2012–2013 season[edit]


  1. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (July 22, 2010). "'Black Swan' stars step deftly into roles". USA Today. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Jenet, Nicole (December 21, 2010). "Pennsylvania Ballet dancer from Abington in ‘Black Swan’". Montgomery News. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Dancers". Pennsylvania Ballet. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Whittington, Lewis (February 2004). "Artistic Director Roy Kaiser Discusses Pennsylvania Ballet's New Era". Ballet-Dance Magazine. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 

External links[edit]