Pennsylvania Ballet II Dancers | Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Pennsylvania Ballet II

Pennsylvania Ballet II, led by principal dancer Francis Veyette, is a trainee program for pre-professional dancers. The “second company” dancers receive intensive daily instruction and fine tuning with Mr. Veyette and rehearse and dance with the main company for all of the larger ballets Pennsylvania Ballet performs at the Academy of Music and Merriam Theater. Fifteen former Pennsylvania Ballet II members are now dancers with Pennsylvania Ballet’s main company, with four having risen to the rank of soloist. 
 
Pennsylvania Ballet II also complements Pennsylvania Ballet’s existing outreach and education program, Community Engagement.  Initiated in February 2002 through the generosity of founding donors Joyce and Herbert Kean, the program enables Pennsylvania Ballet to greatly expand the scope and depth of its outreach effort through theatre and non-theatre-based performances at Philadelphia area schools and other small venues.  Mr. Veyette, in conjunction with the Company’s Artistic Director Angel Corella, has developed a performance-based program that includes audience participation, a demonstration of ballet exercises dancers use to build strength, stamina, and flexibility, excerpts from the Company’s repertoire, and a question and answer period. These one-day school “residencies” give students the opportunity to see the dancers training, rehearsing, and performing. 
 
Pennsylvania Ballet II schedules approximately 20 performances and demonstrations each year in schools throughout Philadelphia, Camden, the surrounding suburban communities in both Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and in school districts where the main company tours. Additional performances are scheduled for senior centers/residences, community centers, and other commercial and non-commercial venues that extend the Company’s reach into the greater community.  Approximately 5,000 children and families attended PBII programs annually.