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Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Barette Vance Widell will take her final bow

Soloist Barette Vance Widell | Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Ending a sparkling performance career, Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Barette Vance Widell will take her final bow before an audience full of friends, family, and fans on Sunday, December 23 at the Academy of Music.

After 9 years dancing with the Company, Ms. Widell will retire with one of her most cherished roles, “Dew Drop” in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. At approximately 7 p.m., once the curtain comes down and the cast takes their bows, there will be a special series of final bows for the retiring ballerina.

Always an exhilarating performer, Ms. Widell was born in Laguna Hills, California and began her dance training at age three. She joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice in 2003 and rose through the ranks to a promotion to Soloist in 2008. Since joining the Company, she has danced numerous featured roles and originated a role in Benjamin Millepied’s This Part in Darkness. Also in 2008, Ms. Widell was named one of the most influential people in Philadelphia by Philadelphia Magazine, along with Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, Mayor Michael Nutter, and Philadelphia Phillies 2nd Baseman Chase Utley. In 2010, Mentor Me Community Support honored Ms. Widell with a Community Impact Award for her work with underserved children in Philadelphia. Upon her retirement from the stage, Ms. Widell looks forward to exploring the business side of dance in her new role as Event Coordinator at Capezio.

Founded in 1963 by Balanchine student and protégée Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Company’s annual local season features six programs of classic favorites and new works, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. For tickets to the remaining performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, closing December 30, please visit paballet.org or call 215.893.1999.

- 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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