Barbara Weisberger founded Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, in 1963. It was her dream, fostered and encouraged by the great George Balanchine, to not only bring the best in dance to Philadelphia but to find local talent and develop those artists into world-class performers.
Her dream was not only realized, but fulfilled time and again over many decades as the company thrived, first under her astute direction and later with a number of esteemed directors, including Benjamin Harkarvy, who had worked extensively throughout Europe, Robert Weiss and Christopher d’Amboise, both of whom danced under Mr. Balanchine at New York City Ballet, and Roy Kaiser, who had been a successful dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet before taking the reins as artistic director for nearly 20 years.
With Angel Corella’s appointment as the new artistic director in 2014, the company moved into its next, exciting stage of development. Mr. Corella’s experience and accomplishments, both as a dancer and director of his own company in Spain, have helped the company embody the increasingly diverse and broadening landscape of dance. This evolution is best reflected in the extraordinary breadth of works being performed by the company as well as the increased interest from dancers around the world seeking to join our ranks.
In 2021, under Mr. Corella’s leadership, the company announced a new identity as Philadelphia Ballet. More than just a name, the new identity honors the deep and enduring roots that the company has laid over nearly six decades within the city of Philadelphia, while setting the stage for a bold and innovative future.
Under Mr. Corella’s direction, the company has danced with a renewed vigor and excitement embraced by critics and audiences alike. Looking to keep his eye on a bold new future, without losing sight of a rich and celebrated past, Mr. Corella programs ballets that honor the company’s Balanchine roots—full-length classics in which he once excelled as a performer—along with internationally recognized contemporary works and electrifying new commissions by choreographers both established and emerging.
As Philadelphia Ballet continues to fulfill its Founder’s dreams on stage, it also strives to share the joy of dance throughout its community. PBII, Philadelphia Ballet’s talented second company, performs across the region, introducing dance to new audiences, while the School of the Philadelphia Ballet helps shape our next generation of performers by offering the finest in dance education. And, not to be overlooked, the company’s community engagement programs work to connect people from all walks of life to their own dreams of dance, whether carried out in theaters, our studios, or schools, community centers, and health facilities throughout the area.
Philadelphia Ballet has been making dance dreams come true for nearly 60 years and intends to continue that most privileged tradition well into a future that has never looked brighter.