After 22 years of being the rare American ballet company without a school, Pennsyvlania Ballet is reopening the School of Pennsylvania Ballet "sometime in the fall," says company artistic director Roy Kaiser. It depends on when the new headquarters and studios at 321 N. Broad St. are ready for occupancy.
"For the professional division, it will be all by audition," Kaiser says. "We’ll have open classes for little toddlers, and adult classes. Plans are being made, we’re getting everything arranged to pull the trigger."
Those plans got a kickstart Thursday night at the Merriam Theater, where Pennsylvania Ballet opened its Pushing Boundaries series. There was a sign-up sheet in the lobby for potential students seeking information and a poster announcing former principal dancer William DeGregory as director of the school and current principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa as the principal teacher.
Barbara Weisberger opened the original school in 1963, with the encouragement of her mentor, George Balanchine. She opened the company the same year.
In 1992, with Pennsylvania Ballet on shaky ground, the school broke apart and became what is now the Rock School for Dance Education.
Soon both the old and the new will exist, on opposite ends of Broad Street.