Philadelphia Ballet

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The Philadelphia Ballet
General information
NameThe Philadelphia Ballet
Year founded1963
FoundersBarbara Weisberger
Principal venue
Artistic staff
Artistic DirectorÁngel Corella
Ballet MasterCharles Askegard, Samantha Dunster
Music DirectorBeatrice Jona Affron
OrchestraThe Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra
Official schoolSchool of Philadelphia Ballet
FormationPrincipal Dancer
Corps de Ballet

Philadelphia Ballet, formerly known as Pennsylvania Ballet is Philadelphia's largest ballet company until rebranding in 2021. The company's annual local season features six programs of classic favorites, as well as new works, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. The company's artistic director is Angel Corella.

Company history[edit]

Pennsylvania Ballet was established in 1963 by Barbara Weisberger,[1] a protégée of George Balanchine, through a Ford Foundation initiative to develop regional professional dance companies. A Philadelphia cultural institution, the company is noted for its focus on Balanchine repertoire.[1]

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’s “Dance in America” series, and a stint as the official company of the Brooklyn Academy of Music during the 1970s.

In 1982, Pennsylvania Ballet became the first major American ballet company to promote an African-American woman, Debra Austin, to principal dancer. Between 1987 and 1989, Pennsylvania Ballet forged an alliance with Milwaukee Ballet in an unprecedented venture to create one company. The new organization, with 43 dancers, was the first in the country to offer its dancers year-round employment.

In 1995, the trustees of Pennsylvania Ballet selected its first home-grown artistic director, Roy Kaiser. A former principal dancer, Kaiser had been hired as a company member in 1979 by Barbara Weisberger. 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 expanded its Balanchine-based repertoire to include new works from both established and emerging choreographers. New works included premieres of original ballets from choreographers 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, which includes their annual signature production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, that balances classic ballets with new works, and that challenges the dancers while attracting a diverse audience. The company tours throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including venues such as New York City Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. Pennsylvania Ballet made its international debut at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2005.

Fourteen members of Pennsylvania Ballet appeared as the corps in the 2010 film Black Swan.[2][3] In September 2014, Ángel Corella was named artistic director.[1]

In July 2021, Pennsylvania Ballet rebranded and became Philadelphia Ballet. After nearly 60-years of artistic legacy and performance in Philadelphia, this name change reflected the company's commitment to its history, inspiration, and identity. The Philadelphia Ballet II (the company's second company) provides outreach and educational performances.

Matthew Neenan, Philadelphia Ballet's first choreographer in residence, danced for the company from 1994 to 2007.[4]

Outreach programs[edit]

Philadelphia 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. Philadelphia Ballet II does around 25 shows in the Philadelphia area as well as arranging studio tours, school shows, and free tickets to Main Stage performances.

Artistic staff[edit]


The company dancers of the Philadelphia Ballet are:[5]


  • Sterling Baca
  • Jermel Johnson
  • Zecheng Liang
  • Nayara Lopes
  • Oksana Maslova
  • Mayara Pineiro
  • Arian Molina Soca
  • Jack Thomas
  • Dayesi Torriente

First Soloists[edit]

  • Yuka Iseda


  • Aleksey Babayev
  • Sydney Dolan
  • Thays Golz
  • Kathryn Manger
  • Ashton Roxander
  • So Jung Shin
  • Peter Weil

Demi Soloists[edit]

  • Etienne Diaz
  • Russel Ducker
  • Lucia Erickson
  • Alexandea Heier
  • Jack Sprance

Corps de ballet[edit]

  • Cato Berry
  • Jacqueline Callahan
  • Adrianna de Svastich
  • Federico D'Ortenzi
  • Austin Eyler
  • Marjorie Feiring
  • Siobhan Howley
  • Denis Maciel
  • Gabriela Mesa
  • Erin O'Dea
  • Fernanda Oliveira
  • Nicholas Patterson
  • Pau Pujol
  • Sophie Savas-Carstens
  • Julia Vinez


  • Isaac Hollis
  • Mine Kusano
  • Cory Ogdahl
  • Jeremy Power
  • Paloma Berjano Torrado
  • Emily Wilson

Philadelphia Ballet II[edit]

Philadelphia Ballet II (formerly Pennsylvania Ballet II) was created in 2002 by Joyce and Herbert Kean as a second company. The dancers in this program practice frequently with the main company and are used as dancers in the larger productions. Philadelphia Ballet II also is involved with many outreach and educational programs.

  • Charlie Clinton
  • Isabella Diemedio
  • Corinne Mulcahy
  • Victoria Casals Renzetti
  • Ben Schwarz
  • Charlotte Erickson
  • Ashley Lewis
  • Shinichiro Ebe
  • Mayfield Myers
  • Vinícius Ferreira Freire

Roy Kaiser has been said to have had a very influential effect on this company. He also participated in other programs such as the New York Choreographic Institute.[6]


  1. ^ a b c MacAulay, Alastair (October 27, 2014). "New Director on Board, a Troupe Sets Sail: Ángel Corella's Opens Debut Season at Pennsylvania Ballet". New York Times. New York, United States. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  2. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (July 22, 2010). "'Black Swan' stars step deftly into roles". USA Today. Life – Movies. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  3. ^ Jenet, Nicole (December 21, 2010). "Philadelphia Ballet dancer from Abington in 'Black Swan'". Montgomery News. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  4. ^ "Articulate — Matthew Neenan". Articulate. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  5. ^ "Dancers". Pennsylvania Ballet. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Whittington, Lewis (February 2004). "Artistic Director Roy Kaiser Discusses Pennsylvania Ballet's New Era". Ballet-Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2011.

External links[edit]