Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Community Engagement

Since 1996, Pennsylvania Ballet's community engagement programs have provided a variety of in-school, after-school, and theatre-based programs for Philadelphia-area school children, free of charge. These programs open up new worlds and contribute to the cultural development of Philadelphia-area school children through introduction to the art of ballet through a professional ballet company.
Programs and services include:

  • Delphi Project

    For the past 15 years, the Outreach and Education Department of Pennsylvania Ballet has coordinated a special after-school project funded by the Delphi Project Foundation of the Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. Through this project, Philadelphia middle school students (grades 5-8) participate in a unique arts program designed to provide a meaningful cultural experience that positively affects a variety of school behaviors and community interactions. The program includes after-school dance classes, field trips to the Ballet Center and attendance at Pennsylvania Ballet dress rehearsals and performances.

    The original model paralleled what the company was doing. The schools have performed CinderellaA Midsummer Night's DreamRomeo and JulietSleeping Beauty, and The Taming of the Shrew. In year four, one school continued the original model, while the other undertook a more strictly dance-oriented production for their end-of-year performance, including Journey of a Hero, loosely based on the students' reaction to 9/11, Bouncing Back to the Beat of Time, a history of their school and community told through music, dance, and the written word, and Born for Broadway, a celebration of Pennsylvania Ballet's 40th anniversary.

    The Delphi Project currently features three Philadelphia middle schools. Each school participates in Shall We Dance?, a program that explores the interrelationships of three different forms of dance: classical ballet, contemporary/urban dance, and ballroom dancing. Pennsylvania Ballet's Outreach and Education Associate Jon Martin teaches the ballet classes while Dara Stevens of Eleone Dance leads the contemporary dance classes at each school. For the ballroom element, students are bused to the Society Hill Dance Academy for lessons with Director Shana Vitoff. All three schools participate in a unique combined performance at the end of the school year. Selected students also learn video production as a way of documenting the students' activities leading up to the project's culminating event.

  • Dress Rehearsal Matinees

    Approximately 5,000 students attend dress rehearsal performances each year from city and suburban school districts in Philadelphia, Camden, and the surrounding communities. Participating teachers receive supplementary teaching materials to help prepare students for their theatre experience.

  • Happy Feet!

    Happy Feet! introduces pre-school children to the art of dance through a structured, yet playful exploration of creative movement and self-expression.

  • Pennsylvania Ballet II

    Established in 2002 through the generosity of Joyce and Herbert Kean, Pennsylvania Ballet II is an eight-member troupe of pre-professional dancers led by former Principal Dancer William DeGregory who perform regularly at Philadelphia area schools and other small venues as part of Pennsylvania Ballet's outreach and education program, Community Engagement.

    The school-based one-day residency includes the opportunity to observe company class and rehearsal and concludes with a one-hour performance-based program that includes audience participation, a demonstration of ballet exercises, excerpts from the Company's repertoire, and a question and answer period.

    Pennsylvania Ballet II provides approximately 20 free performances each year in schools throughout Philadelphia, Camden, and surrounding suburban communities.

  • School Partnerships

    Our school partnerships with Loesche Elementary and Henry School are now in their ninth year. The School Partnership Program includes dress rehearsal attendance, studio tours and the opportunity for students to learn a dance and perform at a Pennsylvania Ballet II assembly program.  Our outreach and education department will work with you to identify programming opportunities and design service delivery options that meet the unique needs and interests of your school and students.

  • Studio Tours and School Visits

    Guided studio tours are offered to selected Community Engagement participants. Tours include a behind-the-scenes look at the day to day operations of a professional performing arts organization, a presentation by a member of the artistic or administrative staff, a mini-class, and an opportunity to observe the Company in rehearsal.

  • Ticket Giveaways

    Through special drawings at each dress rehearsal, students from participating schools receive premium seating tickets to a regular performance. Additionally, approximately 1,000 ticket vouchers are distributed each year through a variety of educational, cultural and social service agencies.