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CBS 3’s Jessica Dean to Serve as Honorary Ambassador for Pennsylvania Ballet’s School and Outreach Initiatives

Jessica Dean

Pennsylvania Ballet announced that CBS 3 anchor Jessica Dean would serve as its first ever Honorary Ambassador for its school and outreach programming.

“Many people know Pennsylvania Ballet for its performances on stage, but we are equally committed to our work in Philadelphia classrooms,” Artistic Director Roy Kaiser says. “Jessica’s enthusiasm for the arts and working with children make her an ideal role model for our students to help shine a light on these important initiatives.”

As Honorary Ambassador, Dean will work firsthand with students of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet and participants in the Company’s outreach and education program, Accent on Dance, as emcee at their performances and year-end celebrations and host at Parent Panel discussions, among other activities.

Dean, who studied ballet for nine years beginning at age three, is excited to go back to the studio to introduce dance to children.  “Whether they are in a class or in the audience, this opportunity can deeply impact their lives and open their minds to creativity and possibility,” she says.   “I’m looking forward to bringing that magic to young audiences who, without Pennsylvania Ballet’s initiative, might never have that experience.”

Since its inception in 1996, Accent on Dance has introduced the art form of ballet to over 160,000 elementary, middle, and high school students in the Philadelphia area. The majority of these students attend public schools where 87% of all students come from economically disadvantaged households. The goal of this program is to provide a sustained experience with dance and open up new worlds for children, spark their interest in the performing arts, and stimulate creative abilities while increasing cognitive skills and improving academic performance. Accent on Dance offers a range of free activities that take place during the school day, after school, and at the theater. To learn more about Accent on Dance, please visit paballet.org/accent.

Re-established in 2012, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet aims to provide the highest level of ballet training for its students and to expose students to the world of professional dance through regular interaction with Company members and artistic staff and performance opportunities with the Company. Through its carefully graded curriculum, the School will embody a natural progression of skill development and continuum of study from the earliest levels of training to a professional career with Pennsylvania Ballet or other professional ballet companies. To learn more about The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, please visit paballet.org/about-the-school.

Jessica Dean is co-anchor with Chris May of CBS 3’s Eyewitness News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.  She and May also co-anchor Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. on The CW Philly 57. Dean came to Philadelphia in September, 2013 from KARK-TV, the NBC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas where she has been the evening news anchor since 2011.  She joined the station in 2010 as weekend anchor after three years as a reporter, anchor and co-host at KATV there.  She began her career as a reporter in 2006 at KNWA/KFTA in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Dean’s award-winning work has been distinctive in its use of social media to include interactive segments in her broadcasts.  She has also earned kudos for her in-depth reports including an investigative series she aired on homelessness for which she spent a night on the streets for a first-person perspective.  A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dean is a 2006 Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California at Los Angeles where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism. While at USC, she interned at Dateline NBC. Dean and her husband, Blake, a business and communications strategist, reside in Philadelphia.

- 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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