Community Education

School Programs

Free Interactive Ballet Lectures and Demonstrations for 4th and 5th Grade Students 


  • November 2, 2022 10:00am-11:00am 
  • November 2, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm 
  • November 3, 2022 10:00am-11:00am 

Performance Garage
1515 Brandywine Street 

Learn and watch excerpts from famous ballets performed by the talented School of Philadelphia Ballet students!

Philadelphia 4th and 5th grade students are invited to attend School of Philadelphia Ballet’s free Ballet Lecture and Demonstrations series, presented on November 2nd and 3rd. School of Philadelphia Ballet students will perform a barre demonstration and ballet class, led by Upper-Middle School Programs Principal Andrea Long. The performance will also feature a pas de deux and solos performed by trainee students.

Students are encouraged to attend this inside look at ballet through these demonstrations and learn about ballet classes and rehearsals from Andrea.

Please reach out to Randy Benedict, Program Manager, In School Partnerships & Public Programs at [email protected] with any questions.

Costume Collaboration

This program collaborates with college level fashion design departments to provide students with the experience of designing costumes for a dance company. In past years, Philadelphia Ballet has worked with Jefferson University students for the Philadelphia Ballet II production of “Celtic Fire”. This upcoming year, the program will work in partnership with Moore College of Art and Design. Fashion Collaboration Has All the Right Moves —The Nexus

Dance Chance

For 1st grade students, Dance Chance is an instructional program that provides dance lessons to nearly 300 students each year. Established in 2012, the goal of this program is to empower children in underserved communities through instruction that leads to physical, emotional, and artistic growth. Students who show promise and dedication are invited to attend classes at The School of Philadelphia Ballet on scholarship, allowing the company to forge a meaningful bond and sustained impact on future generations of prospective professional dancers.

Partner Schools 

  • Dunbar Elementary
  • Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter
  • Kearny Elementary School
  • Fitler Academy Plus School
  • Tacony Academy Charter School
  • Thomas Holme Elementary

Specific Objectives: 

  • Consistent movement opportunities to first grade students throughout the school year.
  • Introduce students to ballet as an artform which includes narrative characterizations and storytelling
  • Understand dance as a vehicle for social connection and emotional expression
  • Understand the dance concepts of level, space, shape and rhythm

Meet Your Teacher

Roberta Curless

Roberta is a performer, teacher, and choreographer based in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area. She has been training in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern for over twenty years. Her training has taken her to The Bowman School of Dance, Center Stage Dance Studio, Princeton Ballet School, Miami City Ballet, and more. During her career as a dancer Roberta has had the privilege of performing the choreography of Todrick Hall, Derek Hough, Debra McWaters, and Christopher d’Amboise. She also had the honor of performing the original choreography of Bob Fosse restaged by Ben Vereen.

Other appearances include: The Atlantic City Ballet, The Broadway Theatre of Pitman, The Ritz Theatre, NYMF, Reverie Dance Theatre, and The Lady Hoofers Junior Company. Roberta has been teaching dance for over eight years. During that time, she has taught for private dance studios in both New Jersey, and Philadelphia, as well as for summer camp programs at The Ritz Theatre and Media Theatre. Select works of choreography include: The Addams Family, 13 The Musical, The Little Mermaid Jr, and Sweet Charity. Roberta is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Let’s Dance

The Let’s Dance Program provides after-school dance classes, visits to dress rehearsals and performances for Philadelphia Middle Schools and concludes with a student showcase in which all partner schools join for a collaborative performance. Each year, close to 300 students take lessons in various forms of dance including: Classical Ballet, Jazz, Latin, African dance, and Hip-Hop. The program provides meaningful cultural experiences for students, positively influencing a variety of their behaviors and improving their self-confidence.

2022-2023 Partner Schools

  • Pan American Charter School
  • Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter
  • Gen. Philip Kearny School
  • Dr. Ethel D. Allen School
  • Thomas Holme Middle School
  • Conwell Middle Magnet School

Specific Objectives:

  • Introduce students to the physical practices of multiple genres of dance
  • Introduce students to the cultural contexts of the dance genres studied
  • Create a sense of community through the creation of dance performance
  • Promote self-esteem and experiences of accomplishment through hard work
  • Create opportunities for students to use out-of-school time for activities that contribute to social skills and personal growth
  • Provide opportunity for the students’ family and larger community to see them perform.
  • Understand dance as a vehicle for social connection and emotional expression
  • Develop interest and creating opportunities for continued dance study

Meet Your Teachers

Bonnie Bing

Dancing from age four at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts (home of Philadanco) for Joan Myers Brown’s very first school on 52nd Street, for the past five decades Bonnie has pursued a professional career in dance.

A member of Philadanco’s first dance company, she has also worked with new and emerging Motown artists, choreographed for the WDAS Coca – Cola radio Juice dancers, WHYY’S pilot TV show Night Music, and for the youth in Aretha Franklin’s concert performances.

Bonnie has taught in both the public and private school systems as well as area dance studios, including the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts. After retiring from the performance stage she continued to work in her field from artist to administrator as the past Director of Development and Finance Officer for Philadanco, Unit Director for Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, Inc. Germantown. In 1992 Bonnie was appointed Executive Director of the International Association of Blacks in Dance working directly with dance legends Joan Myers Brown (Philadanco), Sherrill Berryman Johnson (Images of Cultural Images), Cleo Parker Robinson (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater), Jeraldyne Blunden (Dayton Contemporary Dance Company) Ann Williams (Dallas Black Dance Theater), Carmen De Lavallade, Donald McKayle, Walter Nicks, Eleo Pomare, Donald Byrd, Chuck Davis (DanceAfrica), Lula Washington (Lula Washington Dance), Louise Jackson and Ronald. K. Brown. In 1999 Bonnie received the highest award bestowed upon dancers “The Bessie Award” (The New York Dance and Performance Award) Special Citation for the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Presently Bonnie has now operates her own school with professional artists from the PA Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Philadanco and Freedom Theater along with teaching in the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Delphi Project, praise dance Bethlehem Baptist Church and with her own touring ministry Chosen Generation. She is the proud mother of two daughters, Erica and Tenille and three grandchildren Laci, Stephen & Chloe who she loves with great admiration.

Victor Colon

Victor has been dancing since childhood. Raised in Puerto Rico, Victor’s extensive background provides him knowledge of styles to include Salsa, Hip Hop, Mambo, Merengue, Bachata, and Cha-Cha.

Victor has also expanded his training to include Ballroom, Hustle, Ballet, Jazz and African. Victor’s classic style, elegance, and understanding of the natural island rhythms make him a perfect lead for students of any level.

A cheerful personality and high energy performance style has earned Victor the reputation of “The Entertainer” in Philadelphia. Victor has taught and choreographed classes for adults and teens as well as routines performed at salsa congresses. Victor’s professional credits also include collaboration with Art In Motion, La Luna and Living in Rhythm and several television appearances in PA, NJ and NY.

Victor has performed regularly in local venues such as Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar in the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ and Philadelphia locations as well as at several weddings, office parties, school functions and other private functions.

Victor teaches group and private lessons daily. He is currently teaching dance for the School District of Philadelphia. He teaches students of all levels and grades. Victor teaches everything from basic movements and music appreciation at the beginner level to choreography development for more advanced students interested in Performance Classes.


Tepra Khu Corinaldi

Tepra khu Johnson-Corinaldi is a Brooklyn born but Philly raised African percussionists who started his craft at the age of 5. He graduated from Morgan State University and works in multiple fields including education, physical fitness, musical art, health, and wellness.

Tepra khu has played for multiple groups and schools in and out of Pennsylvania including, Coppin State University, Temple University, Dance 4 Nia, Freedom Theater, Just Danz, DIP Dance Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania Ballet. His main goal is to continue working in fields of service and continue to experience personal and professional growth.

Patricia Jones

Patricia “Peaches” Jones has served many roles in her life weaving together community, culture, movement, education, and health. She is a dancer, teaching artist, public health professional, educator, and lifelong student.

Peaches’ career path was ignited in high school when she was introduced to African dance. This transformational event moved her towards realizing the potential her teachers had always mentioned. In one marking period, she went from being a C student since elementary school to honor roll. She had been dancing from a young age so what made this different? The rhythm, the movement, the touching of history and culture, the connection to community, and a feeling of belonging.

Since that time, Peaches earned a BA with a double major in African American Studies and Urban Studies, a Master’s in Public Administration, and has worked in several capacities on public health and education initiatives. She continues to study African dance and has performed as a member of Les Ballet Shango, Troupe Dada, FlyGround, and Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble. She has traveled to Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Brazil, and Cuba studying African dance in its many different styles and forms. Peaches is grounded in cultivating a connection to rhythm and movement, history and culture, self and community; and she is passionate about sharing this healing practice with others in a safe and supportive environment.

Isabella Mojares

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Isabella Mojares is a freelance dance artist and arts administrator.

She holds a BA in Art History and Dance from Kenyon College, where she choreographed and performed in numerous productions, including a restaging of Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un Faun from the original Labanotation score.

Her senior thesis, an original work entitled Presssing, was presented for adjudication at the American College Dance Festival’s East-Central Conference. After graduation, Isa served as a dance fellow through the program ArtistYear, working at a K-8 school in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia. Most recently, she performed with Ani/Malayaworks during the 2021 Fringe Festival. You can find Isa’s work on Vimeo, her writing on the Philadelphia Dance Journal’s website, and Isa herself at a coffee shop in Queen Village.

Karen Pendergrass

Karen was born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia. While attending Temple University, Karen began her studies in dance. From there she joined the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), becoming a principal in 1974.

Karen is an art educator for forty years, serving as adjunct instructor of dance at Drexel University and Artistic/Program Director for the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center and Director for the Salem Baptist Praise Dance Ensemble, as well as long term teaching artist for Philadelphia Ballet.

High School Choreographic Mentorship Program



Select high school students that have expressed interest in dance create original choreography under the guidance of Philadelphia Ballet staff. The culmination of the student’s creative process results in the self-produced performance of their new work.

Specific Objectives:

  • Understand the tools of the choreographer for creating art through movement
  • Make one on one connections with staff members from the Philadelphia Ballet with extensive experience
  • Prepare high school students for advanced dance study at the college level through opportunities to practice critique of others’ work, accept critique from others, and evaluate and refine work
  • Understand dance as a vehicle for social connection and emotional expression

2022-2023 Partner Schools

  • CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts High School of Philadelphia)
  • Franklin Learning Center
  • Esperanza Academy Charter
  • Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • George Washington High School

Meet Your Teachers

Jourdan Cooper

Program Manager

With over 23 years of national and international dance training, Jourdan’s passion for dance was cultivated at a very early age. Ms. Cooper is a graduate of Cab Calloway School of Arts and Christina Cultural Arts Center in Wilmington DE.

In her teen years Jourdan embarked upon her professional and teaching career performing in the New York City, Philadelphia and DC metropolitan areas. During her senior year at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she was awarded the opportunity to write a published article featured in Black Dance Magazine. Upon graduating from Ellington, she went on to study Dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia PA and graduate from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, NY. At age 17 she began her professional dance career by performing as a company member with Philadanco’s (Philadelphia Dance Company) second company. By age 20 she began performing as a first company member in ASHA Dance Company in New York City. 

Jourdan’s dancing has awarded her international performance opportunities in Canada and Venice Italy. She has also performed on BET Networks and has assisted teaching dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Programs. Some of Jourdan’s most recent work has landed her opportunities in academia as an instructor of Dance Arts at Syracuse University, developing and producing dance programming in NYC Public Schools, writing/producing Black Dance Magazine, and managing programs and teaching for the Philadelphia Ballet. 

Soaring a strapping 5 foot 9 inches, Jourdan takes pride in her height and pays homage to pioneer amazonian female dancers such as Courtney Henry, Teresa Reichlen, and the tremendously influential Judith Jamison. “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion” … Martha Graham

Jon Baldwin

Jon Baldwin is a choreographer and performing artist creating work in Philadelphia. Jon began his training at Ms. Carol’s Center for Dance, formally known as Progressive Center for Dance. After joining Grace Dance Theater in 2012, Jon went on to receive his Bachelors and Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from University of the Arts. 

During his time there, Jon studied under Donna Faye Burchfield, Thomas F DeFrantz, and Jesse Zaritt to name a few. Jon became a Lecturer in the School of Dance teaching courses such as Junior Seminar, Sophomore Coaching and Performance Projects, Thinking, Making, and Doing courses, and Pedagogies of Dance. Beyond his experience in the collegiate realm, Jon has a passion to work within the walls of commercial dance and has worked with wellknown artists and businesses such as Solange Knowles, Adam Blackstone, J. Cole, Gerard and Kelly, and more.


Robert Burden

Born in Philadelphia, Robert started dancing at age 10 with Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, where he was trained in ballet, tap, African, graham, horton, jazz, dunham, and other contemporary styles.

At age 14 Robert was accepted into the Creative and Performing Arts High school (CAPA) as a dance major. While at CAPA Robert performed with the company Brian Sanders “JUNK” at age 15. During Robert’s years at CAPA he also was part of the high school dance company, Eleone EC company, JOVO Dance and Gwen Bye dance company Fusion 2, performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and cherry blossom Parade from 2014-2018. After Graduating CAPA In 2018 he continued his studies in dance at University of the Arts and graduated in 2022 with a BFA in dance. While at UArts he danced with Philadanco company D2 and Grace 2 and done summer work /intensives with Gwen Bye, Earl Mosley EMIA, Philadanco, and New Orleans dance collective (NODC). Robert has trained under Mark Caserta, Kyle and Danita Clark, Wayne St. David, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Kareem Goodwin, Shaylah-vie Jenkins, Gary Jeter, Ndiaye Kaolack, Shawn-Lamere Williams, Donald Lunsford, Michael Sheridan, Uwazi Zamani, and Jesse Zaritt.

Julian Darden

Julian Darden studied performance and choreography at the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

As a teaching artist, he has worked with the youth of Philadelphia as an Education Assistant at the Lenfest Center, and a Mentor/Dance Instructor with Upbeat Dance Center, Rain Dance Studio, Elkins Park School, Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School, The Village of Arts and Humanities, Urban Movement Arts and in association with The Philadelphia Ballet has worked with Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School, Conwell Middle School, Bethune Mary McCloud School, Dr. Tanner G. Duckery Public School, Global Leadership Academy, and Paul L Dunbar School.

Darden was granted the opportunity to teach Umfundalai as an adjunct at Temple University for the fall semester of 2018. As a performing artist, Darden danced with D2D: Dare to Dance Co., Kariamu & Company:Traditions, and the Nance Dance Collective. He has performed at New Freedom Theatre in “The Ballad of Trayvon Martin” (2016) and had his choreography featured in the productions of “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” (2016) and “Black Nativity” (2016), shared the stage with the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble in Kingston, Jamaica (2017-2019) and participated in the Philadelphia Fringe Arts Festival in 2016, 2017, and 2019. Darden had the privilege to work as an assistant choreographer and be featured in Saleka Shyamalan’s music video “Clarity” (2020) and Kingsley Ibeneche’s music video “So Kind” (2021). Standing on the shoulders of his mentors Oluko C. Kemal Nance and his Mwalimu Monique Newton Walker, Darden received his professional teaching certification of the Umfundalai dance technique in February 2021.

Mikaela Fenton

Kathryn Schweingruber is a dancer, teacher and choreographer from Philadelphia, PA.

She grew up training at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center and went on to earn a B.S in Dance from Drexel University. She is trained in Modern, Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz and African Dance techniques. Throughout her time at Drexel, Kathryn performed in works by Sandra Parks, Jennifer Morley, Dinita Clark, Cachet Ivey, Miriam Giguere and Brendan Fernandes. Kathryn has choreographed works for Drexel Dance Ensemble, FreshDance, fusion2, Penn Dance Company and Philadelphia Dance Academy.

She’s attended summer programs at Earl Mosley’s Institute for the Arts, Philadanco and Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute. After graduating, Kathryn spent two years as an ArtistYear Resident Teaching Artist at Samuel Fels High School. She most recently was a member of Academy of Phresh Performance Company directed by Smart Mark and Shanika QP. Currently, Kathryn is a member of Philadelphia Jazz Tap Ensemble, is on faculty with Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center and Sound Space Performing Arts.

Anodja Peck

Anodja Peck is a Dancer and Choreographer from Philadelphia, PA who began her journey at the age of 6 at Kidz Con Estilo performing styles such as Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Jazz, and Ballet.

By the age of 10 she explored various other styles of dance like Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary, and Horton Technique with BEAUDE Dance Company. Entering High School, she pursued being a dance major along with being a main choreographer for various events such as The African American Heritage Month, Annual Winter Showcases, and Company Performances. Continuing this journey she decided to advance her training in college, and earned her Bachelors of Performing Arts Degree at Stockton University located in Galloway, NJ as a dance major with a concentration in performance. During her time at Stockton University she has had the pleasure of training under Beau Hancock, Blythe Smith, Caitlin Quinn Pittenger, Chandra Moss-Thorne, Rain Ross, Shannon Murphy, Saleana Pettaway and Tiffany Mills for which helped develop her love for ballet and the fluidity and mobility, of movement and technique.

Through her college experience she has also had the pleasure of presenting her work entitled “Love U In Advanced” in the 2021 Fall Choreography Project; Which was about the ideology of family dynamics and the expectations and standards they have. Anodja currently works as a freelance dancer, choreographer, and model creating the space to invest and explore the biological rhythms of the body. As a graduate of Stockton University, she is building her own method of teaching dance to help build confidence, structure, depth, and individualized artistry. Anodja currently performs with the Chocolate Ballerina Company directed and founded by Chanel Pierre-Holland.

Student Matinees

Students throughout the Philadelphia area are invited to attend school-day matinees of select Philadelphia Ballet programs. This one-of-a-kind experience provides an up-close look at a professional ballet. These experiences are supplemented with curriculum guides and interactive educational programming at the beginning of the program and during intermission, helping prepare students for attendance and fostering a deeper understanding of ballet and its stories. 

Student Matinee Performance Schedule

Philadelphia Ballet’s next school matinee performance will be George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® on Tuesday, December 20 at 11:00am. Please contact Randy Benedict at [email protected] for more information.

Nutcracker Curriculum Guide

Students with Disabilities

Adaptive Dance (MADE) 

Programs for individuals with all abilities, MADE (Movement, Access, Dance Enrichment), encompasses partnership with St. Katherine Day School in Wynnewood to offer regular dance classes for students ages 5-16 and at Philadelphia Ballet studios to provide a weekly class for students with developmental disabilities ages 10-16.  Studies continue to show that exposure to dance increases social and physical functions of participating students, equipping them with the tools for physical fitness and relationships with others.


Specific Objectives:  

  • Provide access to opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy creative movement and ballet classes
  • Increase range of social and physical interactions of participating students 
  • Use dance as a tool to further communication and emotional expression in students 
  • Provide dance instruction that is specialized for this population and connects Philadelphia Ballet’s artistic resources  


Blind and Low Vision Accessible Dance Classes

Philadelphia Ballet provides weekly classes for blind and low vision clients of Visionlink. As part of this partnership, regular visits to performances at the Academy of Music are included for participants to enjoy audio described Philadelphia Ballet season programs.

Specific Objectives:

  • Provide access to audio described performances at the Academy of Music for Visionlink clients to connect Philadelphia Ballet’s artistic resources to our visually impaired audience
  • Provide modified dance instruction that is tailored to the specific needs of the Visionlink clientele

Meet Your Teacher

Karen Pendergrass

Karen was born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia. While attending Temple University, Karen began her studies in dance. From there she joined the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), becoming a principal in 1974. Karen is an art educator for forty years, serving as adjunct instructor of dance at Drexel University and Artistic/Program Director for the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center and Director for the Salem Baptist Praise Dance Ensemble, as well as long term teaching artist for Philadelphia Ballet. 

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Meet the Ballet

Philadelphia Ballet comprises a team of dedicated professionals—each one devoted to bringing you the most thrilling and inspired works ballet has to offer.

The School

School of Philadelphia Ballet offers the highest caliber dance education of any program in the Greater Philadelphia area, providing our students with exceptional technical training and unparalleled performance opportunities.