Community Education



2021/2022 Partner Schools 

Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter
Add B. Anderson Middle School
Kearny Elementary School
Fitler Academy Plus School
Tacony Academy Charter School 

Dance For 1st Grade


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.

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

Rachel Neitzke
Roberta Curless

Rachel began her dance journey at the age of two in Grand Forks, ND. She was fortunate enough to study throughout the United States, but gained much of her pre-professional training at Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia, PA. After high school she was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee program in New York City under the direction of Michael Blake, and went on to earn her BFA with honors in Dance from The University of the Arts. Post graduation, Ms. Neitzke’s professional dancing and passion for teaching has taken her throughout the United States and abroad. Ms. Neitzke served as the Broadway/Theatrical Jazz teacher at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School for grades 5-8. She is currently the Ballet Coordinator and Xtensions Performing Group Director at CORE Academy of Movement in Mt. Laurel, NJ and teaches Ballet and Jazz classes at Academy of International Ballet. Ms. Neitzke is thrilled to be a part of the Philadelphia Ballet Community Engagement program this year.


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



2021/2022 Partner Schools

Pan American Charter School
Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter
Thomas Holme Middle School
Add B. Anderson Middle School
Conwell Middle Magnet School

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.

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 Teacher

Bonnie Bing
Victor Colon
Tepra Khu Corinaldi
Julian Darden
Patricia Jones
Isabella Mojares
Karen Pendergrass

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 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 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.

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 both Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School and Conwell Middle School through the Philadelphia Ballet. 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

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.

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 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


Past and Present Partner Schools

Esperanza Academy Charter School
Northeast High School
Girls High
Franklin Learning Center
Global Leadership Academy
Hallahan Catholic Girls High

Philadelphia Ballet staff mentor select high school students, that have expressed considerable interest in dance, through the process of creating original choreography. The culmination of each student’s workshopping and designing 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
Jourdan Cooper

Dancer, Artists, Educator and Producer are just a few words to describe Ms. Jourdan Cooper. With over 23 years of national and international dance training, her passion for dance was cultivated at a very early age. Jourdan is a graduate of Cab Calloway School of Arts in Washington DC 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, she was awarded the opportunity to write a published article featured in Black Dance Magazine. Upon graduating from Duke 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 in Philadelphia PA. 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 with The Leadership Program, and assisting the writing and production of Black Dance Magazine. 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

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

  • The Nutcracker: December 28th, 2021 at 12pm; December 29th at 2pm; December 30th at 2pm
    • Academy of Music
  • Swan Lake: March 11th, 2022 at 11am
    • Academy of Music


For more information about Student Matinee performances please contact Randy Benedict at [email protected]  

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  



Meet Your Teacher

Val Amiss

Valerie Amiss began her training at age eight under Sue Millington at the Regency Ballet. She continued her instruction with Victor Moreno and Alexei Yudenich, and at age 12 joined the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, now known as School of Philadelphia Ballet. At age 15, Ms. Amiss spent a summer studying in Saratoga Springs, NY with members of New York City Ballet, including Peter Martins, Heather Watts, and Jock Soto. She was nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award in 1994, and in 1995 performed at the Algur H. Meadows Award Ceremony to honor choreographer, Paul Taylor. In the summer of that same year, she also performed with the Chautauqua Ballet Company, directed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, and, in 1997, performed at the St. Bart’s Music Festival. 



Blind and Low Vision Accessible Dance Classes

Philadelphia Ballet provides weekly classes for blind and low vision clients of Associated Services for the Blind. 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 ASB 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 ASB 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. 

General Public


Coming soon!

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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.