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Pennsylvania Ballet’s outreach programs have provided a number of in- and after-school as well as theater-based programs free of charge to school children in the Philadelphia area since 1996. These initiatives open new doors, provide exciting experiences, and help contribute to the cultural development of children across the Greater Philadelphia region by empowering them through creativity, movement, and by making the art of dance accessible through genuine interaction with one of the nation’s foremost professional ballet companies.

For more information, please contact Pennsylvania Ballet Director of Community Engagement Sarah Cooper at

Follow the impressions and experiences of Philadelphia Futures students as they chronicle their experiences visiting and learning with Pennsylvania Ballet.


First Positions Blog

Programs and Services



Dance Chance is an instructional program that brings ballet to select Philadelphia schools and, in so doing, empowers children from diverse communities to find a new space for physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. This unique three-step program, designed to provide in-school ballet classes, also helps us to identify promising young ballet students who are, in turn, invited to attend regular classes at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, allowing us to forge a meaningful and sustained impact on future generations of potential professional dancers.

Dance Chance is currently operating in four participating schools: Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School, James G. Blaine School, Tacony Academy Charter School, and Holy Redeemer Catholic School.

Step 1: With an emphasis on creative movement and classical ballet vocabulary, the program provides weekly, in-school classes for first-grade students, supplementing their lessons with attendance at Pennsylvania Ballet performances. Students learn discipline but also boost concentration, discover the value of dedication, and develop a love of dance and movement.

Step 2: Students who show particular promise and requisite levels of dedication are invited to attend class with their peers at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.

Step 3: All Dance Chance students accepted into the school program are offered a Fellowship provided by the William Penn Foundation to cover the cost of tuition and dancewear.


Core Values:
The Gift of Grit: Resiliency is more impactful on a child than specific dance skills, and each time a difficult task is overcome it teaches the child a lesson in the value of persistence.

The Challenge of Cooperation: Learning to trust teammates and, in turn, asking them to trust you contributes to greater success in interpersonal dynamics throughout life.

The Benefits of Broadened Horizons: New experiences outside a child’s day-to-day environment can awaken and build an excitement for ever-expanding personal growth.

The Marvels of Movement: More than 50% of us are kinesthetic learners, yet 80% of classroom training is designed for auditory instruction. Allowing children to experience and participate in physical movement while learning exhibits benefits throughout the remainder of the school day.

The Practice of Patience: Engaging with others in an environment that promotes tolerance, kindness, and patience teaches children to value and respect such traits in themselves and others.


Guiding Principles:
Accessibility vs. Elitism: By bringing dance instruction to schools in underserved communities, many students are given an opportunity to experience a professional art form for the first time, encouraging them to develop both as artists and as audience members.

Group Dynamic in Education: Ballet instruction challenges students to attempt mastery of their own bodies, while still recognizing the ways in which their own movement works with and impacts others.

Ownership of Progressive, Multi-Tiered Learning: Children are taught to understand the “hows” and “whys” of multi-tiered learning and, therefore, develop a vested interest in seeing it through to success.

Games and Play for Organic Development: Breaking away from rote memorization through the use of movement-based games stimulates intellectual growth, affecting all aspects of the child’s day.

Social Change through Civic Pride: By sharing beauty and light with children and proving they are fully capable of producing it within themselves, we begin to affect positive change through civic and self pride.

Ambition and Achievement:
Setting step-by-step goals and pointing out success along the way—for individuals as well as the group—teaches children that our choices and actions, big or small, can lead to great achievement.



Funded by the Delphi Project Foundation, Let’s Dance: Pennsylvania Ballet & Delphi Project Foundation’s After-School Program provides a unique after-school experience for Philadelphia public school students (grades 5-8). It is designed to deliver a meaningful cultural experience in order to positively affect a variety of school behaviors and community interactions.

This arts-based program includes after-school dance classes, attendance at Pennsylvania Ballet dress rehearsals and performances, and concludes with a student showcase in which all participating schools join for an exciting combined performance where friends and families are invited to share in the moment and celebrate the students’ achievement. Many students choose to participate in this program for multiple years.

The Delphi Project Foundation, which has partnered with Pennsylvania Ballet since 1997, is funded by Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company: a member of the Tokio Marine Group.


Guided Pennsylvania Ballet studio tours are provided to select school groups. These tours offer a thrilling behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day operations of an elite professional performing arts organization as well as a presentation by a member of the artistic or administrative staff, a ballet class, and an opportunity to observe the company as they rehearse for an upcoming production.

If you are interested in a studio visit, please contact Director of Community Engagement  Sarah Cooper at


More than 5,000 students from city and suburban school districts in Philadelphia, Camden, NJ, and surrounding areas attend Pennsylvania Ballet dress rehearsal performances each year. This one-of-a-kind experience, in an exciting theater atmosphere, provides an up-close look at how the company and its dancers prepare to take a performance from the studio to the stage. (Children under first grade will not be admitted in the theater.)


Romeo & Juliet                                                           Petite Mort and World Premieres
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®   All Stravinsky Program


Romeo & Juliet  (Grades 6-12)
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Grades 1-6)
 Giselle (Grades 9-12)

Dress Rehearsal Series supported by
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