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Polina Kadiyska 1989 – 2012

Polina Kadiyska, a 22-year old student from Bulgaria had been studying ballet at The Rock School for the past three years, when she was struck down and killed by a drunk hit and run driver.

Early Sunday morning in South Philadelphia, Polina was crossing the street at Broad and Ellsworth, when she was struck by a green Audi.  The driver, Deandre Barnes, age 19, is accused of driving drunk, running a red light, and running from the scene along with another male passenger. Both men were taken into custody, after returning to the car to retrieve personal effects. Barnes, has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault while driving under the influence, criminal mischief, driving under the influence, and recklessly endangering another person. He remains jailed on $1 million bail awaiting an April 3 arraignment.

Polina was rushed to Jefferson Hospital, where she was in a coma in the intensive care unit. The Directors of the Rock School and Polina’s loved ones stayed at the hospital until her parents arrived from Bulgaria.  A few hours later, Polina passed away.

Polina was originally from the Bulgarian city of Sofia. She came to Philadelphia to study at the prestigious Rock School for Dance after the directors of the Rock School had offered her a scholarship.  She was described as hard working with a natural talent and on her way to a professional career in dance. She had recently danced as the Dew Drop Fairy in the school’s 2011 production of The Nutcracker.  Her beauty and presence depicted in a photograph have adorned the facade of The Rock School.

The Philadelphia dance community has been deeply struck by this senseless loss.  Polina’s fellow students, dancers and friends  have collected flowers, cards, and notes of kind words for Polina’s family on the 2nd floor of the school under her photo.  A memorial service is planned. Polina’s parents are now hoping to fly her home to Bulgaria. She is expected to be buried there.

- 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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