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Local teen is signed with the Washington Ballet Company

Delaware County, ballerina Ms. Esmiana Jani, age 18, of the Academy of International Ballet (AIB) in Media was recently offered and has accepted a position with the Washington Ballet. The Washington Ballet Company in the Disctirct of Columbia is one of the major professional ballet companies in the country. For Esmiana, this will be a major step in her professional career. She will be performing with the studio and first company, with the possibility of touring.  She will also be dancing with the main company in their productions at the Kennedy Center.

“This is quite an honor and an opportunity for Esmiana to be able to dance with the Washington Ballet and perform at the Kennedy Center for our nation’s leaders, including the President,” said Ms. Josie Singer, Executive Director of AIB. Ms. Singer added that “during the past several years it was obvious to all at AIB, that Esmiana was a dream student. She has the inner drive, perseverance and stamina to totally embrace the art of ballet. To be able to blend technical excellence with a passion for ballet is quite an achievement. Our faculty, fellow students and many patrons are extremely pleased with Esmiana. Esmiana  brought that same commitment to her academic studies as an honors student having recently graduated from Marple Newtown High School”.

Esmiana said that she is “quite aware of how competitive professional ballet is and now with this contract, I will take the final step by surrendering to the dedication and the daily pursuit of artistic excellence. Ballet will become my total life”.

Esmiana began dancing with the Academy of International Ballet (AIB) and Performing Arts in Media, PA in 2001 at age 8. She has been studying ballet in the finest traditions of the Bolshoi for the past 10 years, under Anastasia Babayeva and Denis Gronostayskiy, both graduates of the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. At age 14 she became a member of International Ballet Classique, AIB’s pre-professional training company, performing throughout the region.

Her numerous awards include semi-finalist in 2010 Jackson International Ballet Competition, Jackson, MS; Third Place Senior Classical 2010 Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP), Philadelphia, Pa;  Second Place Senior Classical 2009 YAGP , Philadelphia, Pa;  Third Place  Bluebird Pas de Duex and First Place Ensemble Nymph 2008;  Participant in YAGP New York City Finals 2002-2011;  Second Place Junior Classical 2008 American Ballet Competition, Orlando, FL;  First Place Senior Classical 2009 Youth Dance Festival of New Jersey (YDFNJ);  Second Place Senior Classical  2008 YDFNJ;  First Place Senior Classical 2007 YDFNJ,; Second Place Junior Classical 2006 YDFNJ;  and Third Place Pre-Competitive Classical 2005 YDFNJ. She has danced as guest artist in the “Nutcracker” in Aruba in 2008 and 2009, and has a varied repertoire including Odile from Swan Lake, Paquita, Coppelia, Giselle, Walpurgis Night and The Nutcracker, with principal roles as Arabian, Snow Queen and Sugar Plum.

AIB Artistic Director Denis Gronostayskiy and Anastasia Babayeva Ballet Mistress added, “Now we release her into the world. We know Esmiana is thoroughly ready for all the challenges she will face in professional ballet, and she has all our love in her journey”.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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